The oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) is a pest that lives on oak trees and poses a risk to human and animal health.
The caterpillar of this moth emerges in April every year and produces thousands of irritating hairs. These can cause skin rashes, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems if you or your pet comes into contact with them.
What to do if you see or touch them
If you see any oak processionary nests or caterpillars (OPM) you should report them immediately.
It is important not to come into contact with the caterpillars, hairs or nests.
If you think you may have been exposed and have an itching skin rash and/or conjunctivitis or other symptoms see a pharmacist to relieve the symptoms. If you have a more serious allergic reaction, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 111. The call is free from any phone.
Similarly, consult a vet if your pet has a serious reaction. It is important to restrain pets from approaching nests or caterpillars.
Advice for contractors
Regulations are in place which affects how contractors working with Oak trees should be handling material within the Oak Processionary Moth affected areas.