Toxic caterpillar alert! Their numbers have increased in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

Pine bursa caterpillars, which live by attaching themselves to the fresh needles of pine trees (leaves of trees like pine, juniper, cedar, etc.), have been known to destroy trees so that they will never come back to life again. . For this reason, these caterpillars are one of the main biological factors that threaten the continuity of forests in Turkey.

The pine purse caterpillar, commonly seen in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, is present in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the Marmara and the Black Sea in Turkey, and in the south-facing parts of central Anatolia.

The effects of insect pests do not attract as much attention as forest fires, because they do not appear out of nowhere. But this hidden threat to the forest’s existence becomes clear after insect damage and destruction becomes epidemic. For example, in 2020, hundreds of adult red pines appeared to have been burned due to invasion in Mersin, Izmir and Antalya, raising concerns. Although pine bagworms did not show up in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean, which were scorched by forest fires in 2021, they caused natural destruction in the Black Sea.

But in recent years, the caterpillars have started to appear in cities rather than in forested areas. Their numbers are increasing, especially in picnic areas and recreation areas with red pines, parks, site gardens and green areas of places such as mosques and schools.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND PANDEMIC INCREASE SPREAD

Professor at the Department of Biology of the University of Akdeniz Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Çetin, regarding the growing number of caterpillars and their spread in cities, said, “Many issues such as the fact of climate change and pest control services that have been interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 19 played an important role in expanding the spread of these creatures,” and shared the following information:

“Mated females of the butterfly, which gives one generation per year, lay eggs on the leaf needles of red pines in late summer or early fall. The larvae complete their development by feeding on the leaves of pine trees. until the end of winter. However, the winter and spring months this year were a bit harsh compared to previous years, which delayed the development of the insect.

“The fact that people who want to get rid of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in these beautiful spring days, head for the red pine forest areas, has also increased the possibility of encountering caterpillars.”

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

Pine bursa caterpillars reach their food sources together in a convoy. This way they are not lost and increase their chances of survival. The number of caterpillars in the convoy created can sometimes exceed 300. They also make the convoy on its way to turn into a butterfly.

Toxic caterpillar alert!  Their numbers have increased in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

Pine bursa caterpillars reach their food sources together in a convoy. This way they are not lost and increase their chances of survival. The number of caterpillars in the convoy created can sometimes exceed 300. They also make the convoy on its way to turn into a butterfly.

“PIN BAGS CAN BE HOSPITAL”

The pine purse caterpillar has found a prominent place in social media posts for the past few weeks and continues to find it. When this is the case, it is “What kind of harm does the pine-purse caterpillar have on human health?” comes the question.

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

teacher. Dr. Hussein Cetin, “The hairs of pine processionary caterpillars are allergenic to humans and animals. People who come into contact with these hairs experience redness in their eyes and skin, and the desire for itching increases. He said and elaborated as follows:

Poisonous caterpillars alert Increase in numbers in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

– These creatures spend the winter months in fluffy nests on pine trees. When they descend to the ground and enter people’s living spaces, they can be touched without realizing it. They especially attract the attention of children. On contact, the hairs spread out immediately. Those who have an allergic body and those who suffer from asthma face poor results. In summary, caterpillars can be hospitalized.

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

For this reason, pines with white-net shaped pine processionary nests should be avoided in picnic areas and recreation areas. Caterpillars prepared to penetrate the ground from the pines should not be contacted.

– People with allergies, babies and children should be kept away from caterpillars. The caterpillars, which should never be touched with bare hands, should not be crushed by anything that may contain allergenic hairs. Considering that the interest in forest areas will increase, especially during the holidays, one should be very careful.

Mature caterpillars enter the soil around the end of May, depending on the climatic characteristics of the region where they are, and weave an oval cocoon about two centimeters long. They pass the pupal stage in these cocoons. After remaining underground for 4 to 5 months, they emerge as butterflies between late July and October.

Toxic caterpillar alert!  Their numbers have increased in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

Mature caterpillars enter the soil around the end of May, depending on the climatic characteristics of the region where they are, and weave an oval cocoon about two centimeters long. They pass the pupal stage in these cocoons. After remaining underground for 4 to 5 months, they emerge as butterflies between late July and October.

ATTENTION ANIMAL OWNERS: THE BIG DANGER IS HERE

Can the pine bagworm, which is harmful to humans on contact, also harm other living beings? For example, when pet owners walk their cats and dogs in green areas, the likelihood of encountering pine caterpillars is very high.

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

Indeed, Prof. Dr. Hussein Cetin “The real danger is there” He gave important warnings. teacher. Dr. Difficult, “Dogs and cats that come into contact with the caterpillars develop rashes in their mouths. Even swelling and pain occur in the tongue. If delayed, it can even lead to death. said and added:

Poisonous caterpillars alert Increase in numbers in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

“The swelling of the mouth makes it difficult for animals to breathe. Animals in contact with the caterpillars experience restlessness and increased salivation. The lesions that occur especially in dogs can even lead to a loss of language if they occur late. It is best not to let animals roam in areas such as parks where caterpillars are seen. If a caterpillar is detected on the animal, it should be removed with tweezers or pliers without touching it with bare hands. But still it is necessary to take the animal to the veterinarian. Because the effect can occur after a few hours.

class=”medianet-inline-adv”>

The destruction caused by the pine purse caterpillar has more serious consequences than forest fires. The caterpillars that emerge in April and May stop the development of trees and turn their leaves yellow and dry. For example, last year, pine brush caterpillars damaged the red pine forest over an area of ​​55,000 hectares in Izmir.

Toxic caterpillar alert!  Their numbers have increased in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

The destruction caused by the pine purse caterpillar has more serious consequences than forest fires. The caterpillars that emerge in April and May stop the development of trees and turn their leaves yellow and dry. For example, last year, pine brush caterpillars damaged the red pine forest over an area of ​​55,000 hectares in Izmir.

HOW TO PREVENT FOREST LAND DAMAGE?

Some precautions are also taken during periods of increased damage to forest areas by pine bursa caterpillars. for example “mechanical warfare” In the fight known as wrestling, the sachets are cut from the tree, picked up and burned. Either the egg cobs are picked up and destroyed. ‘Chemical warfare’ In the so-called case, the caterpillars are destroyed by spraying.

The biggest enemies of the pine processionaries; known as hoopoes, wood pigeons, finches and nightingales. These birds feed their young with pine processionary caterpillars, which are rich in oil and protein. But the population of these birds has decreased significantly today.

Toxic caterpillar alert!  Their numbers have increased in the city: They can put you in the hospital, kill your pet

The biggest enemies of the pine processionaries; known as hoopoes, wood pigeons, finches and nightingales. These birds feed their young with pine processionary caterpillars, which are rich in oil and protein. But the population of these birds has decreased significantly today.

However, Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Çetin said that the most accurate method among these methods is the “Forestry Defense Branch”.biological warfare. He pointed it out and detailed it as follows:

– Known as a predator-prey insect in the laboratories of the General Directorate of Forestry in different regions of our country, it can live three to four years and feeds on pine bag caterpillars. ‘Calosoma sycopanta’ The named beneficial insect species is produced and used for biological control. They release insects in areas damaged by the pine purse caterpillar.

– Still in the context of biological control, it kills pine processionaries. ‘Bacillus thuringiensis’ bacterial toxins are used. Bacillus thuringiensis is a soil bacterium commonly used as a biological pesticide.

Photos: iStock

Leave a Comment