Oak processionary moths

The oak processionary moth is a pest that has established itself in oak trees across Greater London, areas of south east England, East Anglia and Birmingham.

It lives on oak trees and poses a risk to human and animal health.

Health risks

The caterpillar of this moth emerges in April every year and develops thousands of irritating hairs, which can cause skin rashes, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems if you (or your pet) come into contact with them.

The Forestry Commission has more information on oak processionary moths including:

  • what they look like
  • how to identify them
  • how to protect yourself from them.

Find out more about oak processionary moths (Forestry Commission website)

What to do if you see or touch them

If you see any oak processionary moths or caterpillars, you should report them immediately to the:

If you think you may have touched or been exposed to oak processionary moths or caterpillars (or their hairs or nests) and have symptoms of a reaction, you should see a pharmacist, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 111. Symptoms can include an itching skin rash and/or conjunctivitis.

You should consult a vet if your pet has a reaction which you think may have been caused by exposure to oak processionary moths.