Caterpillar – Dreaded hairy pine processionary caterpillar enters Paris
The dreaded pine processionary caterpillar has reached Paris amid fears the harmful pest will march to Britain next.
The stripy grubs are deceptively beautiful as they wriggle in single file from one pine tree to another.
However, each caterpillar is covered with tiny barbed hairs, too tiny to see, which can cause reactions ranging from mild inflammation and irritation to severe anaphylactic shock.
Upon contact with skin, a rash soon forms which can be incredibly itchy, painful and lasts for as much as three weeks. After pupation, they turn into the pine processionally moth.
The invasive species has long blighted southern France but has now reached the area around the capital and now parks of the inner city.
“It was absent from the region in the 1990s but since then it has really rocketed,” said Jérôme Rousselet, expert at the French institute of agricultural research, Inrae.
Now it has crossed Paris’ ring road.
“We are observing a rise in the number of sites alerting to the presence of nests of pine processionaries coming up from southern Paris,” the environmental arm of the capital’s town hall told Le Parisien, adding that the Parc Floral in the 12th arrondissement, as well as the Parc Monsouris in the 14th arrondissement were now affected.