Saturday, 20 February 2016
Getting rid of processionary caterpillars.
Since writing about these pests on Wednesday I've been doing a bit of research to learn how to get rid of them. As well as Turkey, many areas of France, Spain and Portugal are plagued with these caterpillars and the standard treatment is either to cut down the nests and burn them, which is feasible only if they are in low lying branches, or to drop insecticide by plane which kills all the insect life to the detriment of every bird and animal that feed off them. By chance I saw an article about an area near Marmaris in Southern Turkey where the Forestry Department are having success with a natural method. If I understood the process correctly, about 250 nests full of caterpillars are collected and put together in an open space, a moat is then dug around them and filled with water to create an island. The stranded caterpillars can't leave and start to die and attract flies (or maybe breed flies, it wasn't clear) which feed on the caterpillars and once they've eaten all on the island, go off and eat the ones in and around the surrounding trees. I tried to find out more about this method but didn't have any success so I'd love to hear from anyone who knows more.