Destroying oak processionary caterpillars

Destroying oak processionary caterpillars

C001/8555 Rights Managed

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Credit: CHRISTOPHE VANDER EECKEN/REPORTERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: MODEL RELEASED. Destroying oak processionary caterpillars. Soldier (left) helping a fireman to burn a nest of caterpillars of the oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea). These caterpillars are a pest of oak forests and also pose a health hazard to humans. The hairs (setae) are poisonous and can cause skin irritation (caterpillar dermatitis) and respiratory problems, including asthma. Even if the larvae are not handled, the setae can break off, becoming airborne. In 2007 the problem became so bad in Limburg, Belgium, that soldiers were deployed to burn the nests, see also image: C001/8556. Photographed in Maaseik, Limburg, Belgium, in June 2007.

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