Recently, the Forestry Commission announced on their website that the Oak Processionary Moth has arrived to some areas on South East England. The moths are called this because they live and feed almost exclusively on oak trees
Here at the Solid Wood Flooring Company, we take a keen interest in any stories on threats that could affect the UK’s oak tree population, and this information has caught our attention.
The moth, a native of Southern Europe has arrived on these shores in April this year, having expanded its range over the past 20 years. If not controlled, the moths could affect oak trees throughout England and Wales. Currently, there is a ‘core zone’ of moths in London and North Surrey.
But why has a little moth caught the attention of wood experts? Because they can threaten the health of several species of oak trees.
The moths do this by feeding on the leaves. Large populations can defoliate, or strip bare, large parts of oak trees, leaving them vulnerable to attack by other pests and diseases, and less able to withstand adverse environmental events such as drought and flood. This can affect the quality of the wood.
Not just that, but they can be a hazard to humans and animals as the caterpillars have thousands of tiny hairs that contain a substance called thaumetopoein which can cause itching skin rashes and, less commonly, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems.
These moths can be controlled in a number of ways, such as, by the removal of the caterpillar nests, which reduces the number of adult moths who can reproduce.
For more information, please read the full report from the Forestry Commission’s website.
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