pine processionary moth

(Thaumetopoea pityocampa)

This moth is native to the Mediterranean region and has been extending its range northward since the 1990s. It has now reached the Paris area. It is a potential alien invasive in Britain. In winter the larvae build tent-like nests of white silken webbing which are up to the size of a football. They shelter in the nests by day and emerge to feed on the tree’s needles at night. In early spring they form processions on the ground before pupating in the soil. The pine processionary moth is a close relative of the oak processionary moth and also has irritant hairs.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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