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America has its fair share of destructive insect pests, but thank goodness we do not have oak processionary moths. OP moths are particularly problematic within the United Kingdom. The first infestations of OP moths were found in several locations within the UK in 2006. Since then the national government has asked citizens to report OP moth sightings. Citizens are urged to not interfere with the OP moths or caterpillars, and to instead allow pest control professionals to take care of them. Several neighborhoods in London have set up task forces to handle the OP moths when they are found in certain areas. The government is stressing that caution should be taken when dealing with OP moths, and this is good advice considering the health conditions that can develop in some people after being exposed to these insects. Unfortunately, Great Britain has just experienced another OP moth invasion and pest control and public health professionals are not sure how to deal with the problem effectively.

 

The OP moth can cause asthma attacks, severe skin rashes, eye and throat irritations, vomiting, dizziness and fever. Each OP caterpillar possesses around sixty three thousand tiny poisonous hairs. When humans are pricked by these hairs, illness can result. In response to the recent invasion of OP moths in Great Britain, the The Royal Forestry Society recently posted a tweet reading: “It’s time to be vigilant! Oak Processionary Moth spotted in parks.” Hopefully, nobody in the country has stumbled upon an OP moth nest, as these nests can each contain hundreds of dangerous OP caterpillars. Their nests are white and about three feet in length, and so far traps have been placed in one hundred and fifty different OP moth hotspots around Great Britain. The traps lure the OP caterpillars with pheromones, and these traps will continue catching OP caterpillars for the next several months. According to public health officials, southeast London was the worst hit by the OP moth invasion.

 

Do you think that people with seasonal allergies are at a greater risk for developing symptoms of illness after encountering OP caterpillars?

 

 

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