New outbreak of oak processionary moth reported

Oak processionary moth has spread to the west Wickham area of Bromley in south-east London.

Oak processionary moth - image: Forestry Commission
Oak processionary moth - image: Forestry Commission
The location is about 15km from the nearest known infestations in the established west London OPM-outbreak zone, prompting the Forestry Commission to suggest it may be a separate outbreak rather than an extension of the known outbreak in west.

A group of infested oak trees in a public area was spotted and reported to the commission last Wednesday by Bromley Borough Council, which immediately cordoned off the area and called in pest controllers.

The caterpillars eat oak leaves and in severe cases can defoliate whole trees leaving them vulnerable to other threats, said Alison Field, south-east England regional director of the Forestry Commission.

"It’s extremely disappointing OPM has been found in this part of London so far from the existing outbreak in west London, where they have become established since being accidentally introduced from continental Europe about 2005," she said.

"The distance away from the west London outbreak suggests this is a separate outbreak, although we will be investigating the pathway by which it got to Bromley. We are working with the council and others to eradicate the outbreak.

"Tree owners should not try to remove nests themselves, as they can be full of the caterpillars’ toxic hairs. To be as effective and safe as possible this job needs to be done by trained and equipped operators, and the nests must be disposed of properly."

Sightings of caterpillars or nests can be reported to the Forestry Commission's Forest Research agency on 01420 22255; email:

christine.tilbury@forestry.gsi.gov.uk; or to Bromley Council's tree team on 0208 313 4471, or to the local council.

People who are having oak trees pruned or felled in affected areas must contact the Forestry Commission’s Plant Health Service beforehand on plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or 0131 314 6414 for advice.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Are tree suppliers seeing the benefit of the health message of trees?

Are tree suppliers seeing the benefit of the health message of trees?

The message that health, the environment and business all benefit from trees is finally getting through, but are nurseries seeing an upturn? Sally Drury reports.

What products are available to help ensure success this planting season?

What products are available to help ensure success this planting season?

Young trees face a tough challenge to get established. Sally Drury looks at some of the best products available to help ensure successful planting projects.

Horticulture Week Business Award - Arboriculture Consultant of the Year

Horticulture Week Business Award - Arboriculture Consultant of the Year

Winner - Barrell Tree Consultancy


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BUSINESS LEADs

Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.

HW Top UK Arboriculture Businesses

See our exclusive RANKING of arboriculture businesses by annual turnover. 

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources