Poisonous processionary caterpillars start to hatch, making a return to NL

A Dutch tourist snapped this photo of thousands of oak processionary caterpillars covering a tree at a campsite in Volstroff, France. June 17, 2019
A Dutch tourist snapped this photo of thousands of oak processionary caterpillars covering a tree at a campsite in Volstroff, France. June 17, 2019Photo: NL Times

The first oak processionary caterpillars of the year hatched in Ede on Monday morning, Arnold van Vliet of the Dutch knowledge center on these poisonous caterpillars said to NU.nl. The biologist previously marked a number of egg clusters on the branches of oak trees. When he went to check them on Monday, "the caterpillars were already walking over the branch in procession," he said. 

According to Van Vliet, the eggs will hatch at around the same time throughout the Netherlands. "The current high temperatures help with that." Though Netherlands residents don't yet have to worry about burning eyes and itching. When the caterpillars hatch, they don't yet have their characteristic stinging hairs. These are expected to develop by mid-May.

Now that the eggs have hatched, municipalities and pest controllers can start fighting the caterpillars. Though pest controllers previously raised concerns about a shortage of protective clothing, due to the coronavirus. 

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