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Processionary caterpillar

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.



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My understanding is also that Processionaries are usually found in large groups. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thank you
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,591
    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.
  • Thanks I'll check that out.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,185
    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?

    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • 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 Posts: 2,591
    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 Posts: 7,490
    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.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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