The butterflies of the processionary pine caterpillar are about to emerge from their chrysalis and so now is the perfect time to stop the dangerous, and sometimes fatal, pest from spreading across the municipality.
Therefore the Department of the Environment for Orihuela this week has placed 25 biological pheromone traps to attract the males of the species in different pine forests across the municipality. The traps have been placed in strategic areas where a greater number of caterpillar incidents were detected in January and February. By capturing the males, the probability of breeding is minimal and so are future infestations.
This biological control method does not use harmful chemicals and will be operational between June and September. The traps will be reviewed periodically to count the number of males captured. From the results obtained, a graph with the curve of the species will indicate the most appropriate moment to start phytosanitary treatments in autumn. Last December, the treatment against the pine processionary caterpillar was carried out throughout the municipality by spraying a biological product.
The pine processionary produces two types of damage: it attacks the trees causing the defoliation of the pines and a decrease in their growth, it manages to weaken them and makes them prone to attack by other pests, even drying out. Secondly, they cause stinging and breathing difficulties in people and animals, causing irritation to the skin, eyes and nose, sometimes causing severe allergic reactions, which constitutes a health risk in recreational areas.
The Councillor for the Environment said: “We continue working to control pests, both processionary caterpillars and mosquitoes that are so annoying for the population.”