Spraying starts in Sulham Woods for oak processionary moth caterpillar

by | May 14, 2014 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Spraying of the oak processionary moth caterpillars will take place today (14th May) in Sulham Woods between Tilehurst and Tidmarsh.

Two small areas of the woodland and the direct access through the woods between them are scheduled to be closed briefly tomorrow as a safety precaution while they are treated from the air for oak processionary moth.

The areas to be closed will be indicated by notices and Forestry Commission staff on site. The remainder of the woodland – south of Pangbourne – will remain open for the public, accessible from footpaths across adjacent fields.

A small hard-standing area in Sulham Hill used as a car park by regular visitors to the woods will also be closed. The treatment area of 2.6 hectares (6.5 acres) represents less than 3% of the total area occupied by Sulham Woods.

The Forestry Commission says on its website

“The treatment product, Bt, is a biological control product which remains fully active for only one to four days.

“Therefore caterpillars of other species of moth and butterfly which feed at other times of the year will not be affected by the treatment.

“Spraying Bt from the air at this time of year will only affect other species of caterpillars feeding in the tree canopy at this point in time.

“White admiral butterfly caterpillars feed on honeysuckle, which occurs towards ground level in the woodland, where very little Bt will reach.

“There is no prospect of significant impact on populations of birds, threatened species or other wildlife.

“Aerial treatment is one of the most precise methods available.

For more information about the moth which damages oak trees, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/opm.

Oak Processionary Moth