There are several reasons why we would advise against using imported logs and only using logs from companies that are certified as Grown in Britain suppliers. These being;
Thaumetopoea Processionea, also known as Oak Processionary Moth (OPM), is a pest that is harmful to not only the oak tree species but to humans and other wildlife too. This pest refers to caterpillars that are very long, with white hairs, a grey body, a dark head, and they feed on oak trees. These tend to be seen around mid-spring and early summer, and they often appear in groups when feeding and moving around. Large groups of these feeding can strip an oak tree making them vulnerable to other diseases, or pests.
These are not only harmful to the oak tree species but humans and animals too. The caterpillars develop small hairs containing thaumetopoein. They shed these hairs when they feel threatened or disturbed and they can be blown through the wind allowing them to stick to clothes, grass and other trees.
If these make human contact, they can cause skin irritations, sore throats, breathing difficulties and in more severe cases allergic reactions. It is advised to thoroughly wash any clothes, hair or any other items that you suspect have come into contact with and to seek medical advice if you show symptoms of breathing difficulties, or an allergic reaction.
OPM is thought to have arrived in the UK from imported trees carrying eggs on them. There are government-led programmes in place to minimise the population, the spread and the impacts of OPM caterpillars and there are treatments in place for infected oak trees.
There have also been tighter restrictions on the importation of Oak trees within the UK. For further information regarding OPM, you can visit the Forestry Commission website.