Nest of processionary caterpillars: how to remove it permanently?

Processionary caterpillars have stinging bristles which cause severe reactions, whether one is allergic or not and it is the same for many animals. Better to fight against these undesirable. But permanently removing a nest of processionary caterpillars requires many precautions, the ideal being to entrust the task to an expert. Let’s find out what the possible solutions are, but first of all let’s take stock of the rules of caution that apply if we have a nest of pine processionaries in the garden.

Processionary caterpillars: precautions to take in their presence

The stinging apparatus of these caterpillars disperses in the air, carried by the wind. It releases a toxin, the thaumetopoein, as soon as the bugs feel threatened. This poses a serious health risk because the toxin attacks the mucous membranes, causing itching, edema, breathing difficulties and sometimes even unconsciousness. This is the reason why we strongly advise against handling their nest, even if it is completely deserted, because there is obviously a lot of hair left.

Before attacking a nest of Pine Processionaries (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) but also if you have to garden near a tree with a cocoon on it, it is absolutely essential to protect yourself. We equip ourselves:

  • From a mask,
  • Protective glasses,
  • Gloves,
  • Of boots,
  • Clothing that fully covers the body, arms and legs.

And if you are in the presence of a procession, it is better to move away from it and not try to crush these unwanted people because it is at this moment that they represent the greatest danger. The procession takes place in the spring. We can then see the caterpillars moving in single file.

Getting rid of pine processionaries: call a professional

Getting rid of a nest of processionary caterpillars allowseradicate the larvae and to avoid their propagation during a procession then their multiplication. It is therefore a preventive act. But we do not joke with these dangerous caterpillars. It is also very risky to dislodge their nest since it is often located at the top of a tree. The wisest thing is therefore not to take care of the eradication of their winter nest, which is a permanent nest, yourself. There are pest control specialists, specially equipped and trained for this.

We therefore regulate without delay in order to avoid an invasion as soon as we notice the presence of a nest of processionary caterpillars in a tree in the garden or in the immediate vicinity, such as the pine but also the Oak or the cedar. The professional’s choice must be based on a certified specialist using only solutions and treatments authorized by the regulations.

The different methods used by these pest control specialists are as follows.


It is a well-established method, which takes place from September to December. The principle consists of reaching the top of the tree in order to remove a nest in which the entire colony of processionary caterpillars is located. Weeding is dangerous and should only be done by a specialist.

The eco-trap

This is a pine processionary trap that arises in the month of February, a sort of gutter in the form of a collar that is installed on the trunk of the tree concerned. It was at this time that the pests still in the form of caterpillars left their nests to go in procession. As they descend along the trunk, the caterpillars fall into the trap before reaching the ground and can therefore be captured and then eradicated permanently thanks to this ecological control solution.

The pheromone trap

It is a solution which is essential in the places where the pines are numerous. It is a preventive solution that we install before mid-June. The male butterflies, attracted by the pheromones of the females, are thus easy to capture. Then all that remains is to destroy them.

Eradicate pine processionary caterpillars by attracting great tits

Attracting the great tit in the garden so that it makes its nest is an excellent solution to fight against the processionary of the pine tree because this bird is one. the biggest predator. Not only do stinging hairs have no effect on it, but a single Great Tit can eliminate half a thousand processionary caterpillars in one day. In winter, these are the food of choice insects are scarce, and in spring, the titmouse brings a large quantity to its chicks.

These chickadees empty complete nests and also collect processionary caterpillars that have fallen into traps. These are therefore very popular pantries for birds. To no longer be exposed to the risk of pine processionaries, everyone has every interest in install nesting boxes for chickadees. The ideal is to place them judiciously, namely not far from caterpillar nests.