The pine processionary

The processionary Of the pine

What is the pine processionary and what effects does it produce?

La pine processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) is a kind of lepidopteran defoliator, abounds in pine forests of Southern Europe and South America, although climate change is favoring its expansion to all European countries, including central ones.

It is considered the most important defoliating insect in pine forests. It can feed on all the species of the genera Pinus, Cedrus and Abies, but they prefer exotic pines and, especially, black or black pine.

Allergic reaction produced by the pine processionary
Allergic reaction
Defoliated trees produced by the pine processionary
Defoliated trees
Necrosis in the tongue of a dog produced by the pine processionary
Dog Tongue Necrosis


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Allergic reaction produced by the pine processionary



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Defoliated trees produced by the pine processionary



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Necrosis in the tongue of a dog produced by the pine processionary


  • Severe allergic skin reactions
  • Serious mucosal allergic reactions that can trigger death from anaphylactic shock
  • Severe damage to the mouth of animals if they come into contact, which can cause necrosis on the tongue.
  • Serious defoliation of the pine, being able to kill the youngest specimens.
  • High risk for children in recreational and school areas
  • Significant fire risk in defoliated areas, and much higher if it coincides with a dry period.

Injuries caused by the pine processionary

The caterpillars (larvae) are covered with stinging hairs that shed and float in the air, so can cause irritation to ears, nose and throat in humansas well as intense allergic reactions that in the most severe cases can lead to death. The substance that gives it this stinging capacity is a heat-labile toxin called Thaumatopina.

In petsif it enters in contact with the animal's tongue, it can lead to necrosis of it, and can even cause death.

But the most affected are the Pine trees and the area where they are. The severe defoliation they weaken their entire structure and younger pines can die. This great defoliation, in situations that align with a possible drought, can make the area susceptible to fire, due to the dryness of the trees, even reaching deforestation of large areas.

Video showing the evolution of the different versions of the FitoStinger drone and how it works.

  • Possible death of other species if spraying or misting methods are used, such as spray guns or helicopters / light aircraft
  • Quarantine of the treated area if methods are used by spraying or misting, by the fall of specimens to the ground and by the dispersion of the applied product
  • Significant economic damage in activities such as forestry
  • Serious defoliation of the pine, being able to kill the youngest.
  • Image damage for the councils or managers of affected areas
  • Danger of deforestation of the burned areas and whose defoliation has favored these fires

How do we carry out the treatments?

FitoStinger has as its premise the protection of the environment in all its treatments. Therefore, since its birth, it has maintained the same way of localized application, through our injector armwhich is proprietary.

Therefore, the drone accurately approaches each of the nests and applies the plant protection product in a surgical way, injecting the product inside (no more than two simple drops, which are sufficient) and practically eradicating immediately to all its guests. In this way we avoid that the caterpillars have time to go outside, as it happens with other treatments based on the impregnation of the nest (aspersion), and therefore fall to the ground; which thing would continue to pose a danger to people and animals.

By treating nest by nest, we ensure that the caterpillars of each of them do not descend from the tree, as part of their natural process with the increase in temperatures at the end of winter and therefore, we cut that cycle. So we avoid reaching the ground, at which time they are most dangerous for living beings and they bury themselves to build their cocoon and be new butterflies in the following season. In this way we protect the trees in the area for the following season, due to the lesser presence of butterflies and therefore less spawning.

life cycle of the pine processionary

It is advisable to treat the nests in their first stages, to be able to prevent someone from falling under their own weight once the caterpillars grow, and also because the plant protection is even faster and more effective, since the caterpillars are not yet developed and therefore are not as strong. However, our system kills all guests even in their most advanced stages.

Our drone evolves day by day, improving its navigation and artificial vision system and also to detect that nests automatically (artificial vision) through its cameras and different sensors and in this way carry out the application autonomously.

Drone performing a control procession of the pine processionary
design artificial vision of the pine processionary control drone
FitoStinger drone to fight against the pine processionary

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