Watch out! Fuzzy but poisonous caterpillars are really an issue in the Netherlands

Caterpillars are a reoccurring problem during summer in the Netherlands and the number of panicked calls to the Wageningen University, who monitor the caterpillars, have shot up in the last few days.

What’s in a name?

The scientific name for these caterpillars is “oak processionary moth caterpillar” due to the fact they move along oak trees in long strings of succession (hence the name…) . They shed as they shuffle along and these hairs will remain poisonous even after they have left the caterpillars body.


The caterpillars are native to Southern Europe but are thought to have started migrating north due to global warming.

Health risk?

Although they are enchanting to watch, try not to come into contact with them. Contact with their venomous hairs will likely result in a skin rash or itching. You can get ointment from health stores or apply some menthol or aloe vera for a home remedy.

In more serious cases, the hairs can invade the airways and could cause cases severe vomiting or asthma. If this happens, then head to the doctor.

Also make sure that your pets stay clear from these buggers as well!

Have you seen these furry creatures about? Or do you know anyone that has been stung by them? Let us know in the comments below! 


Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


  1. We have these in Sydney, Australia too! They make a line straight north when they ‘migrate’ one day each year.


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