OAK PROCESSIONARY MOTH INNOVATION
UK’s first suction & incineration combi system to eradicate OPM infestations
In 2019, we developed and launched an innovative, market-leading Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) solution. It’s exceptionally effective, significantly safer for operatives and environmentally friendly.
What are Oak Processionary Moths?
The caterpillars of Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) are pests of Oak trees that pose a real threat to public safety; tiny hairs shed from older caterpillars – which are commonly blown around in the wind – cause skin rashes, eye and throat irritations, and even breathing difficulties if inhaled.
Having been accidentally introduced to England in 2005, OPM infestations have become increasingly common in recent years – especially in London and the South East of England. The pests are now subject to a government-led programme of survey and control to minimise population, spread and impacts.
Issues with insecticide usage
As the South’s leading environmental services contractor, many clients turn to us either proactively, or after receiving Statutory Plant Health Notices highlighting colonies of infested oak trees.
Insecticides (such as Di Pel) offer one of very few ways to tackle the issue in order to protect the public and avoid incurring a fine – but use of these creates many concerns of their own, including:
Health & Safety
- Inconclusive effectiveness: long delay between treatment and result, with potential retreatments creating further exposure and prolonged risk to the public
- Risk to operatives: inhalation/ingestion of harmful chemicals
- Timeframe restrictions: limited to only a handful of weeks per year due to the life cycle of OPMs
- Weather restrictions: can’t be used in high winds or rain
- Working hours restrictions (infrastructure clients): can’t be used at night for risk of treatment failure
Over the years, it became obvious that something new was needed. So in 2017, we set to work…
Research, investment, innovation
To ultimately provide a safer and far more efficient method of OPM control for our clients, we deployed several specialist teams and invested heavily in the development of a brand new piece of equipment.
And with over 30 years’ contracting experience, we were soon able to determine the best and most environmentally sound solution: the UK’s first OPM-destroying mobile suction and incineration combi system.
Our on-site device arrives complete with a specialist interceptor unit incorporating a smoke-free incinerator, and an industrial scale vacuum unit (able to pull through 45m of hose accessory).
It enables operatives to “vacuum” OPM nests, eliminating them from the ground or from mobile elevated working platforms.
The safety of our staff is always of utmost importance, and for many reasons this new method makes OPM extermination a far less risky procedure for those carrying it out.
The device can be used in all weather conditions, day or night, and removes the pests with 100% success rates. While reinfestations are possible over time due to the fast-spreading nature of OPM, our clients take great comfort in knowing we can help them immediately overcome infestations as soon as they arise.
Innovation in action
After initial deployment in 2019, it became obvious that our unique solution truly was more efficient and effective than any alternatives. We believe it’s become the single most effective way to exterminate hazardous OPM nests.
While full deployment across our skilled teams progresses, we continue to invest in the innovation and development of the device to improve its capabilities further.
“Our OPM issue was complex and needed to be addressed urgently as some nearby construction workers had already been hospitalised after ingesting the pests’ hairs. Thanks to Chaffin Works and the new suction system, we were able to rid our site of OPM nests swiftly and safely. Really impressed.”
Need our help? Call 01323 576 900
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