A fluffy, cute looking caterpillar that’s made its way into Pennsylvania from Canada has a nasty side. Something that Bryant Martin’s 5-year-old son learned the hard way when he touched the insect, put it on his face and ended up with a nasty rash.
The black and white bug is called a hickory tussock moth caterpillar and its fuzzy black spines contain a venom that will irritate human skin.
Thankfully, in most cases the rash can be treated with a calamine lotion and ice and it will die down after a few hours. The venom is not as severe as it can be from another fuzzy caterpillar – the puss caterpillar (or asp caterpillar), which can cause an extremely painful, searing pain for that goes through to the bone.
The hickory tussock moth caterpillar is native to Canada but has been recently reported in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. It is most common from July to September. They then grow into an orange-colored moth in the summer. Beware of the cocoons as well, because the caterpillar hairs are used in the shell to discourage predators.
Please share this information with your friends and family and warn children about the dangers of this bug!