top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

French pétanque jack factory threatened by caterpillar

The only manufacturer of traditional-style wooden boules (pétanque) jacks in France is becoming threatened by a type of caterpillar that is attacking the tree wood it uses for production.

Family production company Monneret in Jeurre (Jura, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) has discovered that the forest it uses for its wood is under attack from animals known as “box tree caterpillars”.

Along with box tree moths, the insects can do severe damage to trees and in some cases can completely defoliate and destroy them.

Monneret produces around one million wooden jacks (known in French as “cochonnets”) per year, representing 35% of its annual business.

The small company - made up of five family members - then sells the jacks on to big brands and official boules competitions, and is also the supplier to boules association la Fédération Française de Pétanque.

Yet, the box tree caterpillar has been found to eat the leaves and destroy the trees from which the jacks are made.

Jean-Yves Monneret, company head, said: “There will be no more of these trees in France within five to seven years.”

Usually, the company cuts 200 tonnes of the trees per year, cut from within a radius of 50km. This year, in an attempt to preserve the wood for future years, the company has cut down 500 tonnes to put into storage.

Similarly, it is hoping that in the next 10 years it may be able to import wood from other countries to continue this manufacturing tradition.

Box tree caterpillars and moths are native to East Asia, but were first noticed in Europe in 2007.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - and contains general information relevant to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France