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Gabrovo Forestry Workers Take Measures against Alien Moth

The state-owned forestry company in Gabrovo has taken measures in response to alerts that parts of the Gradishte Forest Park are infested by an alien moth called pine processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa Schiff.), the Gabrovo Regional Administration said on January 5.
The authorities advise visitors of the park to be cautious and avoid contact with the pest.
The pine processionary is brand new to this part of the world. This is the first year it has been spotted here. Its appearance in the region is probably due to climate change. It can attack any coniferous tree or shrub of the genus Pinus, mainly the black pine and the Scots pine.
Experts warn that the caterpillars of the pine processionary are covered with small hairs which contain an irritant protein, thaumetopoein. Contact with these hairs can result in irritation of the skin, eyes or throat as well as rashes. Rarely, it can cause an allergic reaction.
Employees of the forestry company, assisted by the Sofia Forest Protection Station (FPS), conducted a check on January 4, which showed that foliage loss in the area was under 10%. Sofia FPS recommended to the Gabrovo forestry company to combat the pest by mechanical means and to monitor the area.