The Forestry Commission encourage the following mantra for everyone in affected areas to adopt – ‘Spot it, avoid it, report it’
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You must never touch the caterpillars or their nests. The caterpillars can shed hairs when disturbed, they can also be blown by the wind, stick to branches, bark and grass. The nests can fall from the tree containing accumulated hairs. Only qualified personnel with the correct protective equipment should touch or move nests.
The most vulnerable to the health hazards posed by OPM are:
To minimise the health risks:
Risks to Health include:
The risk of exposure to the caterpillar hairs is highest in May and June.
If you own or manage oak trees in any of the affected area you can download the following document from the Forestry Commission website to ensure you fulfil your duty of care – ‘oak tree owners OPM manual’