RESIDENTS of a Benalmadena apartment block are scared to leave their homes courtesy of a dangerous caterpillar species. The pine processionary poses a particular threat to children and animals.
The pest has swarmed across diseased trees outside the Bellavista urbanisation, which is near a neglected pine forest. Residents say they are fearful of taking their dogs for a walk or letting children run around unsupervised.
Exposure to the hairs of the caterpillar larvae can provoke extreme rashes and breathing problems in humans. It can even kill dogs and other animals. Each insect has around half a million hairs, invisible to the naked eye, which can each cause a reaction in mammals.
The caterpillar typically emerges in springtime but has arrived early in recent years courtesy of the Costa del Sol’s balmy winters.
The council has announced that technicians will investigate the area and fumigate the forest if needs be. Officials claim to have comprehensively fumigated all green areas across Benalmadena since last year’s caterpillar epidemic. But residents suspect that a lack of basic maintenance and cleanliness has spawned this new plague.