Oak Processionary Moth - Spraying of Oak Trees

The caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) are pests of oak trees and present a hazard to human and animal health.  They developing tiny hairs which contain an irritating protein called thaumetopoein,  and contact with the hairs can cause itching skin rashes, eye irritations and in some cases, can result in sore throats and breathing difficulties.

OPM caterpillars can be found on oak trees from April through to July and management of this issue involves:

  • spraying selected oak trees with a recognised biological control agent (Bacillus thuringiensis)
  • providing up to date information around strategic points on the Commons and
  • the survey and removal of all OPM caterpillars and nests that are found under a height of two metres from the ground.  

During the period from the end of April to the beginning of May 2020, specialist contractors will be on site spraying selected trees around five areas of the Commons.

These areas include Roehampton Ride, part of Inner Windmill Ride, Rushmere, a small section of Stag Lane and Putney Lower Common.

In addition to these areas, woodland surrounding six residential properties on the Commons will also be sprayed to help reduce the likelihood of our staff and their families coming into contact with OPM hairs.  

All OPM spraying work that is carried out on the Commons has received consent from Natural England and we thank you for your cooperation while this work is being carried out.

If you have any queries, please do contact our Conservation & Engagement Officer, Peter Haldane