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Puss Moth Caterpillar

  • Subject: [PHOTO] [iris-photos] Puss Moth Caterpillar
  • From: <willwarner@alltel.net>
  • Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 20:55:13 -0500

Got quite the surprise when I was digging up Siberian iris today.  I 
was digging up clumps from some seedlings that needed moved, 
reached down to pick up the clump after digging and my arm lit up with 
this intense pain.  I thought at first that maybe there was stinging nettle, 
or a wasp nest down in the foliage.  All I could find was this small 
caterpillar.  Well, after a few searches for "stinging caterpillar."  I found 
out that's what had got me.  It's called a Puss Moth Caterpillar.  They are 
about 3/4-1" long and about 1/2" wide.  They are really fuzzy and 
resemble a pussy willow, or a spider nest.  The pain was intense, as bad 
as a red wasp or yellow jacket, the pain went up my arm and into my 
chest.  I immediately look some benedryl, as I have fairly bad allergic 
reactions.  I never knew caterpillars could sting like that until now.  I 
read up on treatment, and it recommended using tape on the area the 
caterpillar came in contact with, the tape pulls out the tiny spines.  Then 
use toothpaste on the area, it breaks down the amino acids in the 
venom. Here's a link with more info. 
 You might have to copy/paste that link, since it's so long.  
Thought I'd warn those who are unaware of these nasty little things, 
especially since I found a couple in my siberians and glads.
Watch out!
Will Warner  

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