Luxembourg's Environment and Health Ministries and the Nature and Forest Agency have issued a warning concerning the presence of oak processionary moths.
The oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) has been spreading in Luxembourg for several years and is increasingly found in human recreational and settlement areas. Whilst the moth's larvae, which prefer to feed on oak tree leaves, hardly affect trees, they pose a health risk to humans. Their caterpillar hairs are especially dangerous due to a highly allergenic protein, which can cause itching and irritation of the respiratory system or eyes. In rare cases, they can even cause an allergic reaction. Animals are also at risk.
The moth's development is completed in mid-July, although empty nests with caterpillar hairs remain dangerous for humans and animals.
If oak processionary moth larvae are detected, people should keep their distance. The removal of these nests should be carried out exclusively by specialised companies.
In the event of contact with the caterpillar hairs, the skin should be washed immediately and an anti-allergic ointment applied. Clothes should also be cleaned. If major health problems arise, individuals are advised to consult a doctor.
Further information on the oak processionary moth is available in a leaflet, which is available in German and French from the Nature and Forest Agency and can be downloaded from the websites www.emwelt.lu and www.sante.lu.
For more information and help determining the oak processionary moth, send an email to the Nature and Forest Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.