Oak processionary caterpillar
The oak processionary moth is a fine-looking harmless black moth a few centimetres long. Unfortunately the caterpillars are not so harmless. They have irritating stinging hairs that cause burns to the skin and damage to the eyes and airways.
A closer look: Evaluation of the oak processionary caterpillar 2008
Each year the Provincial Institute for Hygiene monitors the current status and evolution of the oak processionary caterpillar by means of a survey. This helps to anticipate the situation in the following year.
We ask all our local authorities to complete and return this survey in October. The deadline is October because reports can still come in until then.
You can download this survey below.
Deployment of the fire brigade to control oak processionary caterpillars
In recent weeks many letters have been sent to the local authorities by the federal government department for the Interior and the governor of the Province of Antwerp.
Amongst other matters, these letters clarify the fact that it is the legal responsibility of the fire brigade to assist in controlling the oak processionary caterpillar.
The governor also asks the local authorities to answer several questions about the deployment of personnel and equipment to as to be able to determine the human resources of civil protection.
The PIH coordinates the control programme
The oak processionary caterpillar has clearly been present in the Province of Antwerp since 1995. The Provincial Institute for Hygiene (PIH) has received many reports of health problems. Since then the PIH has monitored the oak processionary caterpillar and coordinated its control. The PIH advises that only the most human and environmentally friendly control methods be used in built-up areas or other public places such as cycle paths or footpaths. The natural enemies do their work in natural or wooded areas.
More detailed information about ecology, health effects, prevention and control of the oak processionary caterpillar can be found on the following pages.
The provinces of Antwerp, East Flanders and Flemish Brabant produced a leaflet in conjunction with the Interreg committee for the Central Benelux Region in 1997. This leaflet contains more information about the lifecycle from caterpillar to moth, natural equilibrium, environmentally responsible control, symptoms caused by stinging hairs and how to prevent discomfort.
The Flemish Health and Safety Agency also produced a leaflet on the oak processionary caterpillar in 2007.
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