Greenwich Creepy Crawley Alert

A native of southern Europe, where the bigger bugs and the weather keep these guys in check the Oak Processionary Moth was first, accidentally introduced to Britain back in 2005, with eggs which had been laid on live oak plants imported from Europe.


You can find OPM only in London and some neighbouring counties. It’s a real pest that lives on oak trees and poses a risk to humans and animal health. The caterpillar of this moth emerges in April every year and develops thousands of irritating little hairs, which can cause skin rashes, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems if you (or your pet) come into contact with them. The Forestry Commission has this handy video here

If you see any oak processionary moths or caterpillars, you should report them immediately to the:

Forestry Commission using the Tree Alert online pest reporting form. If you cannot use Tree Alert, report them by telephone on 0300 067 4000 or email at

Parks Management Team – for any sightings in the Borough’s parks and open spaces at

If you think you may have touched or been exposed to these moths or caterpillars (or their hairs or nests) and have symptoms of a reaction, you should see a pharmacist, contact your GP or call NHS Direct on 111.

Symptoms can include an itching skin rash and/or conjunctivitis. You should also consult a vet if your pet has a reaction which you think may have been caused by oak processionary moths too.