Danger poisonous caterpillars in the Netherlands

A plague of poisonous caterpillars explodes throughout the country.

It is an annual summer problem in the Netherlands, but the number of complaints about the Oak Processionary moth caterpillars have soared this year, according to the specialist centre at Wageningen University which monitors the insects. The number of these caterpillars has tripled in many places in the Netherlands compared to last year. The Dutch Association of Medical Environmental Sciences estimates that between 60 thousand and 100 thousand people in the Netherlands will have problems with these caterpillars this year.

The oak processionary caterpillars get their name from their preference for oak trees and the fact that they move in nose-to-tail processions forming a moving carpet of hairs.

The caterpillars’ poisonous hairs may cause skin irritation and breathing problems  and severe allergic reactions in both humans and animals.

If you come into contact with this caterpillar’s hairs and develop a rash, it can be treated with an antihistamine cream. However, if you develop anything serious, like difficulty breathing or an allergic reaction, head to your doctor or hospital.

The increase in the population of these oak processionary caterpillars is possibly due to global warming, as the animals have migrated to cooler spots.

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