Processionary caterpillar nest : how to remove it permanently ?

Processionary caterpillars have stinging bristles which cause severe reactions, whether you are allergic or not and it is the same for many animals. It is therefore better to fight against these undesirables. But permanently removing a nest of processionary caterpillars requires multiple precautions, the ideal being to entrust the task to an expert. Let’s find out what the possible solutions are, but first of all let’s take stock of the rules of caution that are necessary if you have a pine processionary nest in the garden.

Processionary caterpillars: precautions to take in their presence

The stinging apparatus of these caterpillars disperses through the air, carried by the wind. He releases a toxinsthe thaumetopoein, as soon as the critters feel threatened. This represents a serious health risk because the toxin attacks the mucous membranes, causing itching, swelling, breathing difficulties and sometimes even loss of consciousness. This is the reason why we strongly advise against handling their nest, even if it is totally deserted, because there are obviously a lot of hairs left.

Before attacking a nest of Pine Processionaries (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) but also if you have to garden near a tree on which there is a cocoon, it is absolutely essential to protect yourself. We team up:

  • of a mask,
  • Protective glasses,
  • gloves,
  • boots,
  • Clothing that fully covers the body, arms and legs.

And if you find yourself in the presence of a procession, it is better to move away from it and not try to crush these undesirables because it is at this moment that they represent the greatest danger. The procession takes place in the spring. We can then see the caterpillars move in single file.

Get rid of Pine Processionaries: call a professional

Getting rid of a processionary caterpillar nest caneradicate the larvae and to avoid their propagation during a procession and then their multiplication. It is therefore a preventive act. But we don’t mess with these dangerous caterpillars. It is also very risky to dislodge their nest since it is often located at the top of a tree. The wisest thing is therefore not to undertake the eradication of their winter nest, which is a permanent nest. There are pest control specialistsspecially equipped and trained for this.

We therefore act without delay in order to avoid an invasion as soon as we notice the presence of a nest of processionary caterpillars in a tree in the garden or in the immediate vicinity, such as the pin but also the Oak or even the cedar. The professional’s choice must be based on a certified specialist using only solutions and treatments authorized by the regulations.

The different methods used by these pest control specialists are as follows.


It is a well-rehearsed method, which takes place September to December. The principle consists in reaching the top of the tree in order to remove a nest in which the entire colony of processionary caterpillars is located. Weeding is dangerous and should only be done by a specialist.

The eco-trap

This is a pine processionary trap that lands in the month of February, a kind of collar-shaped gutter that is installed on the trunk of the tree concerned. It is at this time that the pests still in the form of caterpillars leave their nest to leave in procession. During their descent along the trunk, the caterpillars fall into the trap before reaching the ground and can therefore be captured and then eradicated definitively thanks to this ecological control solution.

The pheromone trap

It is a solution that is essential in places where there are many pines. This is a preventive solution that is installed before mid-June. The male butterflies, attracted by the pheromones of the females, are thus easy to capture. All that remains is to destroy them.

Eradicate pine processionary caterpillars by attracting great tits

Attracting the Great Tit to the garden so that it can nest there is an excellent solution to fight against the Pine Processionary because this bird is the biggest predator. Not only do the stinging hairs have no effect on her, but a single Great Tit can eliminate half a thousand processionary caterpillars in one day. In winter, these constitute a food of choice, insects are rare, and in spring, the tit brings a large quantity of them to its chicks.

These tits empty complete nests and also recover processionary caterpillars that have fallen into traps. These are therefore very popular pantries for birds. To avoid being exposed to the risk posed by pine processionaries, everyone has every interest in install nesting boxes for tits. The ideal is to place them judiciously, namely not far from the nests of caterpillars.

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