At this time of year, we read a lot about Pine Processionary Caterpillars, hairy and dangerous little fellows who can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions in both human and animals who touch them or who come across their hairs, which can also blow in the wind.
However, little is mentioned of the moth! Here it is, a rather ugly brute compared to the delicate creatures that flit around our lamps at night.
They have cream forewings with brown markings and white hindwings, and can usually be seen from May to July.
The moths emerge from the soil in the summer to pupate.
They only live for a day or so, just enough time to mate and lay their eggs on pine needles. The eggs hatch in the autumn and the emerging caterpillars feed on the needles of the trees. They spend winter high in nests in the pine trees, and form processions on the ground in early spring before pupating in the soil – and the whole process starts all over again.