Surveys and eradication
The pest was first found in the summer of 2006, and immediate action was taken to survey the area and destroy the nests that were found.
The next opportunity to take action was during Spring 2007, when we commissioned surveys to find out whether the species had successfully over-wintered in the area. The finding of newly hatched larvae confirmed the capacity of the moth to over-winter here, and we immediately commissioned treatment of the larvae, followed by a nest destruction programme in the pupal stage that summer.
Following our Pest Contingency Plan, we also convened an Outbreak Management Team in June 2007.
Following the launch of the 2008 programme of survey and management against oak processionary moth, a note linking actions to the different parts of the oak processionary moth life cycle was produced:
This provides advice on survey, use of insecticides against younger caterpillars and how to remove nests containing caterpillars or pupae later in the life cycle.
A network of pheromone traps were set up in London during July 2008 so that the distribution of newly emerged adults could be mapped and compared with the results of ground surveys for nests and caterpillars. This combined approach was coordinated through the Outbreak Management Team.
Similar active measures are again in place for 2009, and we will assess the situation once sampling for adult male moths in pheromone traps is completed in August.
Our eradication programme is still in place, and the pest has been successfully contained within broadly the same area. We know that eradication will take some time to achieve, but our surveys have shown that the population remains at relatively low levels, and the number of nests found and destroyed in 2008 (506) was fewer than in 2007 (708).
Controls on the sale of oak trees
The controls on the sale of oak trees grown in the outbreak area are the same as those that apply to imports. Trees must not be more than 2 metres high, and must have been inspected and found free from all life stages of the moth.