The Caterpillar of the Pine Tree: An Imminent Danger to the Health of the Animals

Between January and April, there have to be more careful with the caterpillar of the pine tree, which represents a great danger to the animals. Learn more about this threat.

The Caterpillar of the Pine Tree An Imminent Danger to the Health of the Animals

It is the insect that most defoliate pine trees and cedar trees in Portugal, and that reveals itself as very dangerous. The Thaumetophoea Pityocampa, known as the caterpillar of the pine tree or processionária is a species dangerous for people, animals and even for the pine trees.

The great problem of the caterpillar of the pine tree is the fact that releasing thousands of by those who are a threat to public health, so it is required that a constant surveillance in an urban environment. The by cause allergies to man and domestic animals, and the allergic reactions are usually to the level of the skin, of the eyeball and of the upper respiratory tract, which, in extreme situations, can even lead to death.

Like all insects, the development of processionária goes through different phases:

  • Egg;
  • Caterpillar;
  • The Pupa or chrysalis (cocoon);
  • Insect adult (butterfly).

The caterpillar of the pine tree has 8 recetáculos with about a hundred thousand by the stinging, which will be releasing as the animal is moved and that are highly intoxicating, acting almost like needles that inject toxic substances on the skin or mucous membranes.

The kids and the dog for have interest sniffing each other or to bite the caterpillars are moved by natural curiosity, are primarily affected, and, to this end, it is not even necessary to enter in direct contact with the animal, simply get in contact with the tracks he left.


Mainly between January and April, the caterpillar of the pine tree leaves to the tree to bury itself in the soil, something that is part of your development cycle, doing in the queue, as if it were a procession (hence the name by which it is known).

So, if you have pine trees at home, or it is usual to attend areas with pine trees, you should have some care, to avoid serious health problems, and take measures to end the caterpillar of the pine tree and their nests, as well as perform treatments to prevent their proliferation.

There are four ways to end the problem:

  • Sex traps: before the end of the Spring install traps with pheromones that attract the caterpillar of the pine tree and prevent ceguem to the ground. The animal gets caught in the system of pest control, and they can then be eliminated more easily;
  • Insecticides: must be applied in the early stages of development, usually between September and November, but the ideal is that it is a suitable company to resolve the matter, given that you will be more empowered to deal with the chemicals appropriate to take effect and which will not damage the trees and do not endanger other species or the environment;
  • Destruction mechanical: must be made by the end of December, prior to the animal leaving the nest and start down the trees and implies to pluck the nests and burn them to prevent the insects from spreading, or shoot them with a shotgun special ammo for after you put the fire in the nest;
  • Physical barrier: place plastic cones or rings around the pine trees, which prevents the caterpillar of the pine tree down the tree and spread.


Besides children, animals are also greatly affected by the attacks of the caterpillar of the pine. Thus, you should avoid that the animals walk along pine, given that the allergy caused by the processionária can lead to amputation of the tongue or, in more severe cases, cause death.

You should be aware of any sign of swelling and take the dog to the vet immediately, especially in the area of the mouth, because the more severe is the ingestion or contact with the tongue, and there may be obstruction of the airway, as soon a risk of asphyxia, and even cause even necrosis on the tongue, forcing its amputation.

The reactions after the contact with the caterpillar of the pine tree or the traces of it are manifest almost immediately, so stay tuned and act in a preventive manner, avoiding walking your animal in area of pines, in periods the most dangerous.