Oak Processionary Caterpillar
In Contact With the Community
Some of our team members had the opportunity to personally meet communal workers who deal with the Oak Processionary Caterpillar (OPC) every year; they explained to us that current methods involve an annual, costly procedure of spraying bacterial pesticide on oak trees in the early stages of the insect development. This method, if done correctly and on time, leads to significant decrease in populations.
However, the main limitation of the current method is that, even though the pesticide used is harmless for humans, animals, or other insects, it affects all species of caterpillars. Therefore, it can only be used in strategic places where the impact on human health outweighs the loss of all the other species.
In addition, if the spraying method is not successfully applied in the early stage of the caterpillars, the alternative is to vacuum the trees, which can cost up to 150 euros per tree. According to these workers, the development of an insecticide specific to the OPC would be a crucial improvement in their fight against the rapidly increasing population.
"The main course of development for a new pesticide should be to ensure that it targets the OPC only and not the other caterpillars".