Municipalities in the Netherlands are increasingly turning to natural methods in the fight against the oak processionary caterpillar. Municipalities are looking into promoting natural predators, bacteria based pesticides, and transforming their tree stock so they have less oak trees, NOS reports after surveying the Dutch municipalities.
Doctors in the Netherlands reported a major spike in patients this past June for complaints related to the poisonous oak processionary caterpillars. Primary care physicians in the last week of June saw a 4.5 times more patients than in other weeks, according to care research organization Nivel.
The hot and dry weather in the Netherlands last week were the ideal conditions for oak processionary butterflies to start crawling out of their pupa. The butterflies are expected to lay many eggs on oak trees across the country, which may result in more problems with the poisonous caterpillars again next year, AD reports.
"The oak processionary butterfly lives only a few days. They look for a male or female to mate with. The female lays her eggs in the tree, and that's it", Henry Kuppen of the Knowledge Center on the Oak Processionary Caterpillar said to the newspaper.
Dozens of people sustained eye injuries caused by miniscule hairs released by oak processionary caterpillars over the past weeks. At least 92 patients went to ophthalmologists in the Netherlands with eye problems caused by these poisonous caterpillars, NOS reports after surveying 133 ophthalmologists.
A video of a 69-year-old Enschede woman enthusiastically attacking oak processionary caterpillars with a heat gun, is going viral in the Netherlands. According to Attie Saas, this is the only way to tackle these poisonous caterpillars - or "rotten beasts" as she calls them - which are currently plaguing the Netherlands.
In the video, Attie can be seen giving the caterpillars the finger, before burning them with the heat gun at close range. "I'll tackle them, those bastards."
A team of experts in the field of oak processionary caterpillars is meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality this week. They hope to quickly come up with an action plan for how municipalities and provinces can tackle the millions of these poisonous caterpillars plaguing the country, NU.nl reports.
This weekend will be another hot and sunny one in the Netherlands, with temperatures up to 33 degrees expected on Saturday and up to 32 degrees on Sunday. But a plague of poisonous caterpillars throughout the country is putting somewhat of a damper on the outdoor fun.