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Be vigilant for signs of oak tree pest

Woodland managers, land owners, the forest industry and tree nurseries are being urged to remain vigilant after the Plant Health Service intercepted a finding of Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) caterpillars on trees recently imported from the Netherlands.

Swift action is being taken to eradicate this finding in Hampshire, including surveillance and tracing work. However, the case highlights the need for continued vigilance to protect the UK’s trees and forests against pests and diseases.

OPM is an established pest in parts of London and surrounding areas, but the rest of the country is designated as a Protected Zone (PZ).

OPM caterpillars feed on oak leaves and can increase trees’ vulnerability to attack by other pests and diseases, making them less able to withstand adverse weather conditions such as drought and floods.

(Published by DEFRA, Forestry Commission and Animal and Plant Health Agency: 14 June 2019)