Recent strong winds and rising temperatures have seen processionary caterpillars, who nest in pine trees, causing problems in the Elche area, especially to children. The spit from the caterpillars can cause very unpleasant skin irritations with stinging, itching and redness which need to be treated. Touching pine cones and tree trunks or anything that the caterpillars have come in contact with can lead to problems.
Around 30 people, mostly young children, have been treated at Elche health centres, with four youngsters coming into the Santa Pola health centre, and a further four at El Altet. Twenty pupils aged between three and four years at the Menendez Pelayo de Elche school needed treatment, with the caterpillars offering the biggest nuisance in areas close to schools, as well as parks close to pine tree areas.
Thirty-two schools in the Elche area have now called for fumigation to take place to eradicate the caterpillars.