Do you love gardening? Are you concerned that a caterpillar may harm your garden? Do you need to learn how to get rid of pine processionary caterpillars? Do you wonder how to prevent pine processionary caterpillars?
This article will teach you how to do all of these things.
First, I’ll show you how to spot pine processionary caterpillars in your garden. Next, I’ll explain how to get rid of them completely.
Finally, I’ll give you some tips on how to prevent these pests from coming back again.
What is the processionary?
The processionary, commonly known as the pine processionary, is a species of beetle, commonly known as a caterpillar, that feeds on the leaves of pine trees.
These caterpillars are distinguished by their poisonous stingers, which they use when they attack predators.
This procession is most often observed in pine woods but may sometimes be observed in urban forests as well.
It is most often found in the pine woods, where it feeds on pine trees.
It may also be found in deciduous forests, but due to the cooler temperatures it inhabits, it rarely transits into urban areas.
The egg-laying processionary starts during the second month of August and ends around October.
From the beginning of December to the beginning of February, eggs of this processionary are found on conifers (especially pines).
They hatch in February or March. These egg-laying processions usually occur when the weather is very cold and rainy.
There may be several hundred eggs laid by a female on a tree. It can take up to 200 days for the caterpillar to metamorphose into the adult stage.
Because it resembles a cotton candy wrapped in pine, this beetle makes for simple nest identification.
The larvae or caterpillars of pine are born after a month of egg-laying.
They grow rapidly and, in only three weeks, fully develop their coats. The small caterpillars roll into cocoons in the dead foliage, usually on the trunk of pine trees.
Once the outer shell around each cocoon is dry and firm, the caterpillar inside it uncoils himself, revealing a bright blue butterfly.
The life cycle of these caterpillars is different from that of other species of caterpillars.
Why does processionary appear?
The pine and cedar trees in which pigeons make their nests are called paradisiacal trees, and their trunks reach 8 meters (26 feet) above ground. The trees provide shade and shelter from the cold.
The roots of the pine trees are soft, so sometimes people use them to go around, for example, in gardens.
When such trees are located close to homes, they can cause serious damage during spring, when they are full of twigs and buds.
They may also come in higher numbers. The pine processionary caterpillar eats everything it can find, including leaves, needles, and flowers.
When making a nest, they weave together pine needles to create one solid structure.
When winter comes to an end and spring starts, the caterpillars burrow into the ground and spin cocoons.
They emerge in the summer when their feeding cycles start again.
The caterpillars prefer black pine as a host plant, although they will eat other pines as well.
Black pine is one of their favorites, as it makes a convenient breeding spot.
The caterpillars are apparently immune to the insecticidal properties in the soil.
This implies that after they leave the nest, they wander about and lay eggs on unlucky trees.
Is processionary dangerous?
If you read the last part carefully, you’ll have a better idea of the harm this caterpillar can do.
This caterpillar, as previously stated, is very dangerous. They can cause kidney, liver, and bone issues and even death. Although it’s rare, they may sting people or pets.
People and pets might get irritated when they come into contact with the caterpillars, but there is no reason to worry that they will feel ill.
In the case of animals, their sting is very painful, and some of their venom could actually lead to death.
This might result in urticaria and even conjunctivitis, necessitating the use of anti-inflammatory medications.
As a result, if you see signs of a processionary’s sting or irritation, you should see a veterinarian immediately.
As a result, if you have irritation or inflammation, you should seek treatment in 24 hours to prevent complications.
Processionary caterpillars normally go dormant in the late summer and may not feed until the end of October or November.
The egg, larva, chrysalis, and adult are all part of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.
In May, the butterflies will mate and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, you will see caterpillars.
The eggs hatch after a month or two, revealing the caterpillars within.
The stinging hairs on their body don’t appear for another month.
The caterpillars are protected from birds that might otherwise eat them by the nest itself.
When it comes time to hibernate during the winter, it helps them keep warm.
Once the cocoons hatch, the caterpillars turn into butterflies, and the cycle repeats again.
Their stinging hairs require a special diet, only composed of milkweed leaves.
The caterpillars will find refuge and safety in groundhog holes this time of year. The adult butterflies will mate during this time, laying many more eggs.
It also aids them in surviving winter by hibernating inside their cocoons.
The butterflies emerge from the cocoons, mate, lay eggs, and the process begins again.
How to Get Rid of Pine Processionary In Your Garden Naturally
There are many compelling reasons to consider eliminating them from your garden.
First of all, they can cause significant damage to your garden. They eat the leaves of most plants and can cause a large amount of damage in a year.
Also, many plants cannot withstand the damage that these caterpillars may cause. They can destroy the entire plant and may require you to replace it.
Many of the measures listed below are simple to put into place and will help you get rid of the pine processionary caterpillars.
The pine processionary caterpillar is an aggressive insect that will feed on many different kinds of pine trees.
If this insect is found on pine trees, it can be a real issue. Pine processionary caterpillars are small and light brown.
They live in groups and will congregate in an area to feed on the needles and foliage of pine trees.
The pine processionary caterpillar is a species of moth that feeds on pine trees, especially in forests.
This might be the “simplest” trap, but it’s highly effective.
Wrap a plastic container around the tree and fill it with water. The caterpillars will go down their holes and drown, and the tree will become healthier.
So that the water does seep out of the container, you will want to make sure that the container is wrapped tightly and securely.
The caterpillars will perish if exposed to too much moisture.
You may need to fish the drowned caterpillars out every few weeks.
To get rid of the caterpillars that have already fallen to the ground, you’ll need to use a soft brush to brush them off.
You’ll need to do this every day until the population has been reduced to an acceptable level.
The use of soap and water, as it turned out, was ineffective, so the pupae were eaten alive.
Water and Tobacco
Using a little tobacco is another way to naturally get rid of the pine processionary.
Place a pack of cigarettes in a clay pot and fill it with water. Place the pot over your hydrocotyles.
Use common sense when using this method. You don’t want to overdo it since tobacco is harmful to your plants.
You may use ashes instead of entire cigarettes, as there will likely be more ash than tobacco in the mixture.
Then, without abusing it, pour the ashes and water back into the pot.
You must use extreme caution since too much might damage your pines.
The processionary will be scared away, and it will leave your garden on its own.
Water and Soap
This is one of the most practical, accessible, and most successful alternatives.
Fill a spray bottle halfway with tepid water and add 1 tablespoon of distilled or plain dish soap.
Shake well, and spray the pest-prone part of the plant thoroughly.
This soapy solution will kill the caterpillar activity immediately and dehydrate the pest, which will eventually start dying.
Repeat the soapy solution spray process every three days as needed.
You can also use the soapy solution to eliminate the larvae of a moth or butterfly from your plants.
After that, spray the mixture over the plant, and twist it up so that the ingredient reaches the sapwood and the stem of the affected plant.
Yes, it may seem absurd, but bringing some animals into your garden may help you with this issue.
In case you didn’t know, insectivorous birds can eat processionary caterpillars, eggs, larvae, and even adults.
To get started, you need to look inside each box for paper bags. These bags are what you should place caterpillars in.
It may take some time for them to mature inside the bags.
Once you have them in there, however, you should place them in areas where you know the birds are likely to find them.
The birds can then hunt the processionary caterpillars and expel them from the garden.
Also, predators of this dreadful pest, the processionary, can be found in your backyard.
In such a scenario, you may encourage these birds to stay in the garden by providing them with plenty of food.
Place homes and bird feeders in closed spaces surrounded by pine processionary plants.
Even if you don’t like the idea, keep in mind that some types of birds may be more than willing to tolerate the presence of processionary in your garden.
You’ll need to get some greenhouses that caterpillars can fly into.
You’ll then need to place the traps in the greenhouses.
You’ll need to place traps within the greenhouses where the caterpillars will be attracted.
The pheromones will cause them to fall in, and you can then collect them.
Male butterflies will fly into pheromone traps that contain it.
They will die in the traps and won’t be able to reproduce.
This will significantly reduce the amount of caterpillars in your area.
If you are unable to purchase synthetic pheromones, you could rely on natural pheromones produced by different plants, such as milkweed.
Dig Up the Pupae
The pupae have excavated holes in moist sandy soil just above the tree roots.
They are generally within 15 feet of their tree where they’ve constructed their nest.
Tapping them with a stick will cause them to reemerge.
Look for a sand mound that is mostly open, and that’s surrounded by dead plants and litter.
The pupae need fresh air and shade in order to survive, so do not cover the hole you’re going to dig with soil or leaves.
You’ll discover the pupae have a pungent odor and an odor similar to rancid butter.
They are considered pests because they will continue to eat the leaves after they’re finished consuming the pinecones.
You may dispose of them in any way that physically destroys them or scares them away.
Kill by Hand
You may kill the caterpillars with detergent, paint thinner, or even ripe bananas—the stronger the poison, the faster the death.
It is recommended to use gloves and other equipment to protect you from coming in contact with the caterpillar’s venom.
One easy method is to ignite the nest with a fire starter and place the nest on fire until it’s completely burned. This kills all the caterpillars at once and eliminates the risk of future infestations.
The caterpillars may be killed with a blow torch or through direct fire to the nest.
The nest may not be completely destroyed; however, by focusing the flame only on its top.
If the nest is in a relatively unaccessible area, it is wise to wear rubber gloves to avoid being stung.
A terrible bug to have around the house, the pine processionary caterpillar is a pest.
Large lines of the pest are formed as small bunches of caterpillars move across the landscape and will often lead you to lose orientation because there are no natural obstacles.
They should not be touched because they are dangerous.
They often walk in huge lines, which makes it hard to monitor all of them at once.
Therefore, it is best to tackle this menace head-on, which is much easier when you have the right techniques.
They will be less likely to search out your home if they know there are predators surrounding it.
They are also a serious economic problem because pine processionary caterpillars are believed to have caused over $100 million in damage in the last few years.
Knowing how to cope with this issue will help you defend your property.