March 5, 2014

PINE PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS ...



Linked to: Scenic Weekends, Shadow Shot Sunday2, Straight out of the Camera Sunday, Monday Mellow Yellows, Macro Monday2, I Heart Macro, Our Beautiful World, Blue Monday, Ruby Tuesday, Our World Tuesday, Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflections & Alphabe-Thursday where *P* is for our seasonal hazard here in the Southern Mediterranean:                 
                                      Pine Processional Caterpillars


Pine Processionary Moth (PPM) larvae (caterpillars) feed on the needles of pine trees and other conifer tree species, forming candy floss-like cocoons. In large numbers they can severely defoliate trees, weakening them (above photos) and making them more susceptible to attack by other pests or diseases, or to environmental stress caused by drought or rainstorms. PPM gets its name from its distinctive habit of moving about in nose-to-tail processions:
They represent a public health hazard because they have thousands of hairs which contain an irritating protein called thaumetopoein. These hairs can be blown by the wind into contact with people and animals, resulting in painful skin irritations and rashes and, sometimes, allergic reactions in people and death in animals.
                This is how a healthy Mediterranean Umbrella pine should look:
                                                    plus red-ish robins:
                    
                      and here's how it looks after it's been "got" at by caterpillars:



                           Apologies if you were about to have a meal!

And, finally, thank you to all our dear readers who visited or commented.

Enjoy!

NORA & LOLA:)

33 comments:

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Yikes! We've had a problem here with pine beetles killing off pine trees. As a certified tree hugger, I have issues with that!

bettyl-NZ said...

What a beautiful little tree killer!

Betty said...

I have pine trees, but I've never seen those and hope I never do!

Jen said...

I have never seen such a parade. They'd be really cool if only they weren't so destructive.

Eden House News and views said...

Isn't nature strange, something so clever to watch causing so much devastation

carol l mckenna said...

Great post for P and love the catepillar photos ~ thanks, ^_^

ladyfi said...

Wow - amazing caterpillars!

EG CameraGirl said...

What a shame these caterpillars are causing such problems!

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Yikes -- evil looking little beasts! Growing up, there were similar looking black caterpillars everywhere -- beware if you stepped on one on the sidewalk!

Julia said...

tienes un perro precioso, jo tambien tengo un westhi, aunque son un poco cabezones pero son una maravilla, felcidades por tu bloc me encanta.
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Lady Lilith said...

Caterpillars have always scared me. I am not a fan of small things that can crawl.

edenhills said...

What horrible pests!

HansHB said...

A great post, interesting to study all details!

Judie said...

In Georgia, we call these "tent caterpillars," and my father used to make a torch of old rags and gasoline, light it, and burn the tents before they could spread.

TexWisGirl said...

wow, a marching, munching army!

Laura said...

Seriously busy caterpillars, wow!! Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro:-)

fredamans said...

Who knew a caterpillar could be so hazardous... cool!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

OH my gosh -- there are one trillion of those guys on that tree. Yikes! Very interesting information but scary!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, they are dangerous caterpillars.. They are amazing to see! Great series! Have a happy weekend!

jeannettestgermain said...

Whoa, great captures and thanks for the warning!

'Tsuki said...

In France, we call this specie : "processionnaire du pin"... That is a curiosity of nature, nice report.

Jeanne Pursell said...

Well...those certainly are destructive little buggers!! Hope all is well with you two! xo Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

Norma Ruttan said...

even before reading about these pests, I knew they were not good visitors to the tree. thankfully, I did not lose a tree once inhabited by these "robbers"!

Ralph said...

The spiny caterpillars are a pest - around the northeast USA, it is the gypsy moth caterpillars that denude leafy trees, so these can be terrible pests. It si a shame to see the conifers minus their needles, and a tree that is without green is a sad looking tree indeed. How to get rid of these pests is a mystery...that we hope to find a way to do so...

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Well at least the caterpillars are kind of cute! Have a lovely Sunday.

BLOGitse said...

Oh no, right now I'm happy living in Finland where we don't have this kind of killer!
ps. Thanks, I feel much better than a week ago!
BLOGitse


Ros Crawford said...

I had never heard of these guys ... Great photos and great post ... Thanks so much for sharing this at Our Beautiful World

Lili Sulastri said...

Wow! Truly amazing. I've only ever seen one of those caterpillars at a time. But an army like that? Woah! Thanks for sharing.

Powell River Books said...

We get tent caterpillars and they can devastate a tree. Fortunately they only have a huge impact every ten years or so when there is a population explosion. That gives the trees a few years to bounce back in between. -- Margy

Huldra said...

Beautiful little critters, but it`s bad to see how the destruction they make. Great pictures, and thanks for the lesson :)

Melody Harrison said...

Whoah! I've seen these in Philippines and they freak me out! Nice post!

Hugs,
Melody and Olivia xx

Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

Yikes!! That's scary!

Annesphamily said...

Scary stuff! Why are so many things in nature so destructive? Drat! Thanks for sharing.