North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
The puss caterpillar bears a placing resemblance to Cousin Itt from the Addams Household, a fuzzy little bug that one can not help however wish to contact. Nonetheless, beneath its bushy floor are toxic barbs that pack a strong sting, which can lead to days and even weeks of ache.
One of the crucial venomous caterpillars within the U.S., the puss could be discovered feasting on foliage in states between New Jersey and Florida and as far west as Texas. Most encounters sometimes happen when the caterpillar by accident falls out of a tree or when persons are eradicating leaves from round their house.
A puss caterpillar stung the supervisor of Virginia Tech’s Insect ID Lab, Eric Day, when he by accident brushed up in opposition to a tree whereas mowing his garden in rural Virginia. He mentioned it resulted in a burning sensation and a blister about an inch lengthy on the sting web site.
“The burning sensation went away in a day or so, however that blister after which subsequent type of irritated space was seen for a number of weeks,” he recalled.
The caterpillar can develop to slightly over 1 inch lengthy and is roofed in grey and orange hairs, which have venom glands on the base, in line with the College of Florida’s Institute of Meals and Agricultural Sciences. It is generally present in Florida however is most ample in Dallas and southern elements of Texas.
The extent of ache brought on by the caterpillar’s sting varies from individual to individual, however entomologist Molly Keck of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service mentioned the venom could be harmful to people who are suffering from excessive reactions to insect bites.
“Some may have localized discomfort that lasts for only a quick time frame. Others may have one thing as extreme as anaphylaxis or needing to hunt medical consideration,” Keck instructed NPR.
She mentioned the caterpillars could be discovered most frequently within the fall and spring, when persons are spending time outside.
In case you occur to get stung by the caterpillar, the Nationwide Capital Poison Middle recommends utilizing tape to take away the hairs after which gently washing the world with cleaning soap and water. If the sting web site begins to itch, use hydrocortisone cream or a baking soda and water paste for reduction.
If the ache worsens, hunt down medical consideration, Keck mentioned. The sting has been recognized to trigger anaphylaxis in uncommon cases, which could be life threatening.