THE recent warm weather on the Costa Blanca has encouraged the first major appearance this year of the processionary caterpillar.

The pest can kill small dogs and make children sick.

The Montgo mountain area between Denia and Javea, along with the Granadella, has seen sightings of it feeding on pine trees that have regrown after the fires of 2014 and 2016.

Their eggs are laid inside floss nets on pine trees and are generally in a line, creating the shape of a snake

Some caterpillar nests have been spotted close to the paths of the Plana del Montgo, with larger numbers spotted compared to previous years.

The caterpillars have tiny barbed hairs containing a protein called thaumetopoein.

This can cause allergic reactions, foaming at the mouth and vomiting if children come into contact with them

Vets say that dogs are especially at risk because if they accidentally ingest the caterpillars, the barbed hairs could cause severe damage to the tongue.

Dogs that try to eat or even sniff the processionary caterpillars could face amputation of their tongue or nose, or even end up dying.

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