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Sunday February 24th 2019

Oak Processionary Moth in Godstone


You may or may not have heard of the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM). OPM is a moth which nests in oak trees and feeds on oak leaves, and large populations can strip trees bare, leaving them weakened and vulnerable to other threats. A protein in the caterpillars’ tiny hairs can cause skin and eye irritations, sore throats and breathing difficulties in people and animals who come into contact with them.

Oak Processionary Moth is now confirmed within Tandridge, and seeing as it’s as far south as South Godstone, it’s fair to say that we will be seeing much more of it in the future.

It should be noted that Tandridge is located within the area designated as the ‘Control/Buffer Zone’ which surrounds the London ‘Core Zone’ where eradication is now considered impossible. Within the Control Zone areas it is mandatory for public bodies such as County, District, and Parish Councils to report any infestations and eradicate them. Currently the Forestry Commission pays for eradication on private land. The following link explains it all:

Oak trees can survive defoliation because it happens early enough in the season for a second flush of leaves to be formed. Oak trees should not be removed as a control mechanism as there are effective treatments and the risk to humans and animals is only over short period of time whilst the caterpillars are active.

Please do read the information available from the Forestry Commission website from the links provided.