BENITACHELL’S Environment department in the Costa Blanca has fumigated local pines to eradicate the processionary caterpillars that affect them each year. Trees in public zones including sports installations, the Santa Maria Magdalena school, urbanisation green areas, and the La Cumbre access roads, have all been treated with non-toxic organic products, said environment councillor Jorge Pascual.
The processionary caterpillars invade pine trees each spring, defoliating the needles, Pascual explained. They also inflict harm on humans and animals by dropping minute, barbed hairs which are too small to be seen, producing ear, nose and throat irritation and in some extreme cases, intense allergic reactions. Experts recommend paying particular attention to domestic animals whenever they are near are pines, fir trees, or cedars, taking them immediately to a vet if they see them sniff, lick or eat a processionary.
The town hall takes these precautionary measures each year to ensure that the processionaries neither damage local trees nor pose a threat to the local population and their animals, Pascual said. While the town hall has been protecting pines from processionary caterpillars, Alicante’s provincial council, the Diputacion, has recently replaced dead trees in the Les Fonts urbanisation, planting 20 carobs, olives and hackberries.