An invasive pest which targets oak trees was spotted in Ireland for the first time this week and has been traced to trees recently imported from Belgium.
The oak processionary moth (OPM) is found on oak tress and plants and is unlikely to be found on any other type of tree. The Department of Agriculture has asked the public and horticulture industry to be vigilant and report any other suspected sightings of the pest immediately.
Ireland has a protected zone under EU legislation for OPM and annual surveys are carried out to ensure the pest does not enter or become established in Ireland. The single nest found earlier this week was in a Dublin park on a solitary tree and has since been destroyed.
It was traced to a recent import of oak trees from Belgium and all trees associated with the consignment have also been destroyed. A wider intensified survey being carried out by the Department has yet to yield any additional sightings of the pest.
Suspected sightings should be notified immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on how to identify OPM can be found here.