Oak Processionary Moth
Thankfully the Oak Processionary Moth hasn't reached the Solihull area, but it has become established in parts of London since around 2005. The problem arises with the caterpillars that form nests within silken threads on oak trees and can strip the leaves, usually during April to July.
Although it may not cause major damage to oak trees, the biggest problem with the caterpillars is the tiny shedding hairs that cover them. They can be an extreme irritant to humans, dogs and other animals, so if you see one, don't pick it up.
The moths, which have a wingspan of around 1", emerge in late summer and live for just a few days. But during that time they lay their eggs in the tops of oak trees. When the caterpillars hatch they feed on the surrounding leaves but because they're so high they usually remain unnoticed. As they migrate down the tree and on to surrounding ground, they can be seen in long processions, nose to tail. It's an interesting sight but do keep pets away.
The processionary moth caterpillars also construct webbing nests that attach to tree trunks or sturdy branches. They spend much of the day there, emerging to feed around dawn and dusk. It's at this stage that the hairs develop.
If you see the distinctive caterpillars in the Solihull area, you should report the sighting to the Forestry Commission. There's more information on their website here
For help and advice on all tree problems and tree pests, call the expert Solihull tree surgeons on 0121 752 2784