Plant diseases

Processionary remedies

The processionary

The pine or oak processionary are insects belonging to the Notodontidae family. The processionary moth is a moth that is particularly dangerous for pine forests, since it is able to strip the leaves of the plants, causing extensive damage and compromising the life cycle of the tree. The processionary moth in the juvenile stage shows itself as a larva equipped with many irritating hairs, also for humans, used as a defense. As adults, the larvae change into nocturnal moths with the characteristic wings with a dirty white or ivory yellow color. The moths of the processionary moth if threatened are able to emit a particularly irritating yellowish liquid. The larvae are usually active during the night and become very active during the spring,

Remedies against the processionary moth

The processionary moth is a very harmful insect so it would be advisable to fight it properly, to do this there are different methodologies. To proceed, however, it would first be advisable to precisely identify the exact species of the insect. The processionary moth can be fought by mechanical struggle by manually eliminating the processionary nests from the infested plant. The elimination of the nests should be done in the winter, so that the larvae are still inside. It would be advisable to provide adequate coverage to carry out the elimination of the nests, so as not to come into contact with the stinging hairs. This methodology is easy to use if the surface of the intervention is not too large, given the costs and time required to carry out the intervention.

Microbiological fight for the processionary moth

To counteract the processionary moth, the most used methodology is that which uses a biological insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki. This bacterium is able to hit the processionary moth, managing to damage the nerve centers and paralyze the larva. This bacterium can only affect some moths. This insecticide can be sprinkled in the area through an air vehicle which could be a helicopter or special tools that are able to nebulize the substance on the plants. It is in intervention that it can be used for large areas, guaranteeing the success of the operation. A further method to combat the processionary moth is the use of pheromones that can attract the male, in order to avoid fertilization and therefore the proliferation of insects.

Processionary remedies: Problems for humans

In addition to these systems, it is possible to intervene inside the plant, introducing insecticidal or fungicidal substances into the vascular system, so that it reaches the crown of the plant and acts as a protection against all pathogens that can attack it. There are also particular mechanical traps on the market which, if placed on plants, are able to capture the processionaries as they move along the trunk. Fighting the processionary moth is useful not only for plants but also for humans, since it is highly irritating and can cause serious problems. In fact, the hairs can cause stinging reactions and lead to anaphylactic shock as an extreme consequence. The hairs can cause itching, conjunctivitis, can irritate the respiratory tract or inflammation of the mouth and intestines.

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