The processionary caterpillar is one of the most dangerous pests that appear during spring. Its urticating hairs cause strong allergic reactions, and are life-threatening for pets. To eliminate it, it is common to burn or to apply insecticide on their pockets. These are complex methods that often expose operators to the irritating effect of its hairs.
If we want to eliminate the processionary quickly, easily and efficiently, we have to start as soon as possible. This is where plant endotherapy comes into play. It is a phytosanitary treatment that is applied during the autumn, and that is increasingly used in the prevention of the processionary.
What is plant endotherapy?
It is a phytosanitary treatment that prevents the appearance of pests and diseases in trees. It consists of the injection of phytosanitary substances directly inside the trunk.
It is a very effective and environmentally friendly technique. In autumn it is frequently used in pine trees to eliminate the appearance of processionary, with excellent results.
To perform the treatment, a hole is made in the tree trunk with a drill. The cavity is filled with the low pressure insecticide, which is distributed throughout the trunk through the sap. When feeding, the caterpillars ingest the poison from the leaves and die.
What are the advantages of plant endotherapy to eliminate the processionary?
There are many different methods to control pine processionary larvaes. But endotherapy stands out for several reasons:
-Early elimination: The eggs of the processionary caterpillar hatch at the end of August and remain in the pines until February or March. At this time, they descend to the ground to bury themselves underground. During this time, they go through five stages of development.
The urticating hairs of the caterpillars do not appear until the third phase, at which point they become dangerous for humans and animals. With the endotherapy treatment we eliminate them before that.
-Respectful with the environment: The insecticide used in endotherapy is introduced directly into the tree. Thus we avoid the risk of spreading and contaminating the soil, water or affecting other animals.
-Suitable for gardens and public areas: As there is no insecticide fogging, we can apply this treatment in open spaces and private gardens without risk to children or pets.
What insecticides are used to eliminate the processionary?
There are several methods to control pine processionary larvaes through endotherapy. Most of them use insecticides that affect the nervous system of insects, causing death, or alternatives substances based on bacteria that attack pests.
In Viveros González we use the Vertimec product, with abamectin base. This solution comes from the fermentation of Streptomyces avermitilis bacteria, and is widely used in agricultural crops. It is suitable for gardens and public spaces.
When should endotherapy be applied?
The appropriate time to start treatment is between September and November at the most, when the larvae are in their early growth stages. From this time they begin to develop their urticating hairs.
In their final stages, larvae are not only more dangerous, but also more resistant to the effect of insecticides. In this case, we can only eliminate them by removing the pockets in which they nest or with other more aggressive methods.
Who should apply the treatment?
Tree drilling is a delicate operation. If we do it incorrectly, the insecticide will not be distributed well through the trunk. Therefore, it must always be a professional with specific training who carries out the endotherapy.
Another reason is that the phytosanitary products used in the treatment are products of selling restrictions. To acquire them it is necessary to present an official license.
If you need to eliminate the appearance of processionaries in your garden, we recommend that you go to you trusted garden centre or gardener.