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Processionary caterpillar

ashedotbobashedotbob Aude, FrancePosts: 11
Hi can anyone help?
I've attached some photos of a caterpillar I found that looks similar to a processionary caterpillar. Can anyone confirm whether or not it is and if not what is it?
I'm in the south of France and found it in a stone barn; I haven't seen any others. There has been a problem in the past with processionary caterpillars.
Many thanks.



  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Rhondda ValleyPosts: 2,668
    They arent usually found alone,are there pine trees nearby? Look for a big nest,but whatever you do keep well away and wear a mask when dealing with them,even one hair from them can prove disasterous.
    We found a nest in our grapevine in Spain,and our neighbour (Spanish) pulled it down,poured petrol over it and set it on fire!!    Not a recommended method I hasten to add.  
    It does look like one though.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • ashedotbobashedotbob Aude, FrancePosts: 11
    Thanks. There aren't any pine trees, only elder, hawthorn near the barn, fir down the lane and a small deciduous wood across the field. I'll have a good look around.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,455
    My understanding is also that Processionaries are usually found in large groups. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ashedotbobashedotbob Aude, FrancePosts: 11
    Thank you
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 2,118
    Hello ashdotbob. I don't think is a processionary caterpillar. I think it looks more like a Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar, they are more hairy than the others.
  • ashedotbobashedotbob Aude, FrancePosts: 11
    Thanks I'll check that out.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,639
    If you were in the UK I'd say that was a fox moth caterpillar. We get loads around here but I don't know if their range extends down your way?

    Some people bring joy wherever they go. Others, whenever they go. - Mark Twain.
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Rhondda ValleyPosts: 2,668
    Whats a bit worrying is that I read somewhere that the processional caterpillars have somehow got to the UK.   Look in your pine trees folks!
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 2,118
    I agree with wild edges it could very well be the fox moth caterpillar as we do have them in France. Also Oak Eggar is similar?
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,366
    No, not a pine processionary caterpillar, and unlikely to be found on it’s own even of it were. You would have to have a pine tree nearby with a woven, white nest looking like a blob of candyfloss. They process in a nose to tail line down from the tree and burrow into a nest in the ground. We had a single pine tree in the garden with a nest, we waited until they proccessed (keeping a close eye on the nest and the dogs) and once they had burrowed, destroyed the burrow then chopped the tree down.

    The Oak Processionary (which it isn’t either) is another concern. They nest in the bark, so you don’t see the telltale nest.
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