Pine Processionary Moth

Pine Processionary Moth

Thaumetopoea pityocampa

Appearance

Pine Processionary Moth
  • Adults have cream coloured forewings with some brown markings and white hindwings.
  • The caterpillars have orange brown backs with bluish grey bands and bluish grey protrusions.

Lifecycle

  • Moths lay their eggs high on pine trees.
  • After hatching, the larvae start consuming pine needles while going through five instars.
  • White silken protective nests are built to maintain ideal living conditions.
  • Around the end of March the caterpillars are ready to leave their nests and move down the tree in a characteristic procession.
  • They dig underground and pupate.
  • At the end of the Summer the moths emerge.

Habits

  • Caterpillars are nocturnal, leaving the nest at night to forage on the pine needles.
  • The fine hairs the caterpillars have on their back contain a protein that causes severe irritation and dermatitis.