Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. They are often brightly colored and they feed on the foliage of many different kinds of trees and shrubs. Caterpillars have developed defense mechanisms that protect them from predators. Their bright colors serve as a warning sign to potential predators telling them to beware of toxic treats. Caterpillars are sometimes covered in hairs or spines that are venomous and can easily break off if you touch them causing joint pain and swelling. Even caterpillar cocoons can be unsafe to touch.
Some caterpillars have hairs or spines as that only mimic their more toxic cousins. These caterpillars are not toxic, yet fool their predators by looking like the more toxic variety. Because caterpillars are so good at fooling their predators, it is very difficult to determine whether a caterpillar is or is not toxic just by looking at it. The only way to find out for sure would be to touch it, which is sort of a bad return on investment. Caterpillar stings can cause welts that last for weeks, and some species of stinging caterpillar can even cause death. Caterpillar venom is not usually considered deadly, although small children might be at serious risk if they pick up a brightly colored caterpillar and eat it, thinking it might taste good.
Although the great majority of caterpillar species are not toxic I would recommend being cautious by avoiding touching any caterpillar, especially the brightly colored, hairy varieties that look so cute and cuddly. Many caterpillars that do not actually produce venom can still cause an allergic reaction because their fine hairs disperse in the air and can be breathed in or irritate human skin. Even the bristles on the relatively harmless and sometimes domesticated wooly bear caterpillar can cause skin irritation. And, you don't touch a dead or slightly smushed caterpillar, either. They have just as much toxin in their bodies as living caterpillars.
Caterpillars will sometimes explode in numbers during certain times of the year, and some years there are more caterpillars than others. Children should be warned about the dangers of touching them if there are a lot of stinging caterpillars outside. When examining for stings look for a row or several rows of red insect bites. They can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks and have varying amounts of pain or soreness.
Here are some different types of stinging caterpillars, what they look like, where they are found, what they like to eat, and what you can expect if stung by one.
Saddleback Caterpillars are brown-red in appearance, about 2 cm long. They have fleshy horns with spines on each end of their bodies and shorter horns with spines on each side. They have a distinct green coloring on their midsection that looks like a saddle. There is a brown or purple circle in the middle of the bright green saddle section. Saddlebacks are common across North America and frequently appear in late summer or early fall. They feed on apple, basswood, cherry, chestnut, dogwood, elm, maple, oak, plum, and corn.
Gypsy Moth Caterpillars are a blue green color as young caterpillars. Their color fades to a blue-grey as they get older. They are covered in spiny, stinging hairs and have round bumps on each of their body segments. They are blue behind their head, red on their rear, and yellow on the sides. The gypsy moths usually exist in low numbers, but outbreaks can be major factors in the defoliation of trees so they are considered a pest beyond their stinging potential. During times of outbreak, the gypsy moth caterpillar droppings and the sound of their chewing is also an annoyance. They were brought to America in the mid 19th century to begin a silk industry that never materialized. They are now entrenched as one of the most harmful pest to hardwood trees in North America.
Hag Moth Caterpillars are brown or red-brown and only a centimeter or two in length. They are covered in hairs and have nine pairs of spines running down their back. Some of the spines become twisted together so the caterpillar looks like it has locks of dirty, tangled hair, earning them the name Hag. They deliver a painful sting similar to the saddleback caterpillar. They are found in the Eastern and Southern US, prominent in August and September, and feed on apple, birch, chestnut, dogwood, hickory, oak, sassafras, and willow.
Tussock Moth Caterpillars in their many varieties, are hairy and brightly colored with long hairs on both of their ends. These hairs are often in clumps, or tufts, giving the caterpillar its name. The hairs break off very easily and cause skin irritation. There are many varieties of tussock moth caterpillars that feed on a wide range of plants. One example is the aptly named toothbrush caterpillar, which has several venomous, toothbrush-like bristles on its back.
Puss Caterpillars are pear shaped and covered in long, shaggy looking hair that is dirty white to a yellowish brown in color. They are found throughout North and South America. The hair on their back ends looks like a tail but hides venomous spines. These caterpillars look very soft, like a tiny Persian cat, which is probably how they got the name “Puss”. However, despite their fluffy appearance these caterpillars give a particularly nasty sting that often develops into a persistent rash. They are communal feeders on apple, elm, hackberry, maple, pecan, oak, sycamore, and citrus trees. They sometimes fall from trees and land on people, giving them sharp stings on their necks or arms. Sometimes a severe reaction can occur from a puss caterpillar sting. Symptoms might include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, respiratory distress and in extreme cases seizure and abdominal pain. Their stings have a grid-like pattern that can last for several weeks.
Browntail Moth Caterpillars are hairy brown caterpillars 2 or 3 cm in length with red spots on its back and white hairs on its sides. Their hairs can easily break off and cause irritation to the skin... They are distributed worldwide and feed on blackthorn and hawthorn shrubs, as well as on fruit trees, mistletoe, and many other deciduous trees.
Buck Moth Caterpillars often increase in numbers during the fall hunting season, which is how they got their name. They have breakaway spines on their back and sides and have a sting similar to the saddleback. They have a dark red head, grey-brown body, yellow and white spots and orange spines on their back and longer red or black spines on their sides. They are found in oak trees in the Southeastern and Southwestern states. I think this was the kind of caterpillar I was stung by. The red, rash like bumps last about a week and feel tender and painful.
South American Lonomia Saturniid Moth Caterpillars are a dangerous group of caterpillars that inflict very painful stings that can cause internal hemorrhaging, renal failure and for several unlucky victims each year, death. They have camouflage colors of green or brown that helps them to blend into their environment. They are communal feeders that sometimes gather on the trunk of trees where sometimes an unwitting, unfortunate soul leans against them and gets severely stung. The benefit of these insects is that they have provided scientist with chemicals that help to prevent blood clots. They are only found in South America, but I'll tell you about them because you are better off knowing, than not.
Other stinging caterpillars include the Io Moth Caterpillar, the Silverspotted Tiger Moth Caterpillar, and the Stinging Rose Caterpillar. This is not meant to be a complete list, but a list of some of the common varieties you need to watch out for in North America.
If you see a caterpillar crawling on your skin do not rush to swat it off because this could cause spines to get stuck onto your hand. Gently lift the caterpillar off with a stick or pencil. If you are stung by a caterpillar don't rub the affected area, this might cause spines to become more imbedded in the skin. Take a piece of sticky tape and try to pull out any hairs or spines by placing the tape on the skin and pulling it off. Do this several times until all the spines are removed. Wash the area with soap and water. If you are stung on the hand you should remove any rings immediately because the fingers might swell up. To easy the sting you can place an ice pack on the sting site, rub alcohol or ammonia on it, rub on an antihistamine or cortisone cream or take a antihistamine orally.
To prevent caterpillar stings you need to be aware of when the caterpillars are in their peak larval instar season. This is normally late fall, but can also occur in the spring in tropical climates. The caterpillars will be around in greater numbers during this time. You might want to wear long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim if you are walking outdoors under a lot of trees with caterpillars in them. Also, the hairs of a caterpillar can be spread into the air and cause allergic reactions in some people. Keep your windows and doors closed and make sure you have clean air filters on any air conditioning system that brings in air from the outside. Don't hang wet clothes out to dry because hairs or spines might fall onto them.
Caterpillars are beautiful, interesting creatures that develop into harmless moths or gorgeous butterflies. Look but don't touch is my best piece of advice.
02 Aug 2009, 13:13
I'm a college student in a tropical country. On my first year, one day, it
was spring; I was rubbing my left arm on my shirt because it was really
itchy. I looked down and saw a hairy caterpillar crawling on my shirt!
Luckily, a classmate was beside me to take it off. The rash on both my arms
lasted for around more or less two weeks and it was painful and itchy at
the same time. This year, two black hairy caterpillars with yellow heads
were scrawling on my leg. Luckily, I wore pants at that time. Thanks for
the tip! I never knew the hairs stick on the skin.
09 Sep 2009, 09:55
A caterpillar was on my neck, I felt a sting and brushed it off. My neck
was hurting and we only had access to hand sanitizer. We put the sanitizer
on my neck. The area continued to sting and burn. The next day I checked
the web and used the transparent tape on the area (large area on my neck).
I have a bump like rash that has spreaded around my neck and under my chin.
I will be seeing a doctor today. How long does the rash last? Is there
something I can do to speed the recovery? I scheduled a Dr. appointment.
05 Oct 2009, 12:53
I believe I was stung by a hag moth catapiller from a willow tree. The
sting was on my arm right under the elbow. After the stinging left, I have
pain that shoots up my arm and down to my hand...constant. Do I need to go
to the doctor>
06 Oct 2009, 20:04
I wish I could send a pic; these weird looking caterpillars are all over
the back yard of my new place. I live in the panhandle of FL...it is about
1 1/2 " long, reddish body, and tufts of long hairbrush looking
protrusions...Ive looked all over wikipedia and NOTHING resembles it, do
you have an email?
30 Oct 2009, 01:39
This article was informative and very helpful, thank you. ^_^
14 Apr 2010, 20:33
It was a relief to find your information site which took a while of
searching. My mother was bitten some days ago and only found a caterpillar
near the chair, she regularly sits on, this morning. She experienced a
rash, shooting pain and swelling and was confused as to what may have
caused this. Since reading your suggestions of treatment we are now very
relieved, THANKYOU! I wish researchers money was also spent publishing
their findings, thank god you had the decency to share your knowledge, we
are extremely greatful
22 Apr 2010, 10:09
This year Central Florida has been overrun with caterpillars. My 3 year old
daughter and all the neighborhood kids have had a field day catching them
and "keeping" them as "pets". That is, until my daughter developed a rash.
Thanks to your site, we deduced that the culprit was the Tussock Moth
caterpillar! Thank you!
27 Apr 2010, 17:37
I had a tussok moth caterpillar with a red head land on my neck too, and I
tried to wipe it off thinking it was a leaf or something, big mistake! I
ended up having a very large rash on my neck and down in between my breast
where the caterpillar hairs had gotten to and also down my stomach. It
hurts and itches and burns really bad. There are a ton of them here in
Texas I hate it, I am afraid for my babies now.
30 Apr 2010, 18:18
I have a rash from an encounter with a tussock moth caterpillar in Houston,
Texas this week. The caterpillar was crawling on my shirt, and I didn't
touch it, but have developed a rash on my neck and stomach. Thanks for the
10 May 2010, 20:26
Interesting, very intere-sting. Those boogers are everywhere. Golden
brown ones ans Black onesI had six crawling in my driveway in about 10
minutes time. I told my wife that they smell my Tomato plants. there goes
another one. Why so many this year?
Ask the Exterminator
10 May 2010, 22:45
Large infestations of caterpillars can be caused by any number of reasons
including mild winters or an abundance of food sources.
09 Jun 2010, 21:52
Was stung by caterpillar tonight on leg and hand - when I tried to get it
off my leg. Used tape to get hairs out of skin. Then tried two remedies
I've used for other stings: roll on deodorant [ingredient aluminum
cholorhydrate] (for fire ant stings) and also tried a paste of unseasoned
meat tenderizer and rubbing alcohol (great for wasp and bee stings). I
keep both items in medicine cabinet. No longer burns but is little swollen
with slight ache. These remedies do not work with severe allergic reactions
that affect breathing or development of hives. That is a systemic reaction
and is an emergency.
14 Jun 2010, 15:26
Yesterday a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar fell of the tree onto my
neck. I brushed it off with my hand, not realizing what it was until it
fell onto the ground. I wish I had read this article before this had
happened as I did not know what to do. I wiped the area with a cold wash
rag and tried to pick off the hairs with tweezers. Mistake! Didn't work,
duh! Now my neck has a rash. At least now I know what I did wrong and now
know how to treat it if this happens again. Thanks for a very informative
05 Jul 2010, 22:56
Thanks for the details here - also found some other good info on web to
help me out. I had not ever realized a caterpillar can "sting".
I live in NYC and was in the park on a bench when I felt something on my
bare arm. It was a yellow-green fuzzy caterpillar (the IO moth caterpillar
based on descriptions I have read) and I immediately swatted it off.
Within seconds my arm felt like it had been pricked by a bunch of tiny
sharp hairs and got worse when I bent my arm a certain way.
The caterpillar itself appeared as if it "went up in smoke". All I saw was
a puff of its yellow-green fuzz.
I went home, looked up a bunch of stuff, used tape to remove anything, put
on baking soda to relieve itching / swelling and generally it seemed ok,
but when I woke up this morning it looked considerably worse. I'm sure it
will go away in another day or two, but it itches more than it has before
and just looks like a nasty rash.
12 Aug 2010, 11:21
Very helpful site. I was in the garden last night pushing up dirt and
mulch to cover an Azalea root ball, and my hand touched a "saddleback"
sitting underneath an Azalea leaf - felt just like a bee sting, but no bees
in sight! The exact same thing happened to me about 2 weeks earlier, same
plant. This time I KNEW there was something there, so I looked, and there
she was, in all her beauty. After some first aid, I brought the parents
and husband outside to catch a look. We had no idea such a beautiful thing
could cause such a painful sting. We know now to keep our distance, and we
let her be. Today, I'm all better, no big deal, a little swelling, a
little redness, no more pain. Removed what I could last night with
tweezers, hydrogen piroxide, and soap & water. I'm wearing gloves for now
17 Aug 2010, 22:17
very helpful! :)
21 Aug 2010, 16:33
I was holding a caterpillar and i put it on my leg so that it could have a
place to walk. After a while i picked him up and when i did, this stinging
sensation came and i freaked out. Does anyone know what it could be??
Ask the Exterminator
22 Aug 2010, 22:34
Duh! Obviously a visitor who has failed to read the article.
27 Aug 2010, 18:32
I was on vacation at a very tropical place in Key West. I woke up during
the night with a stinging/burning pain on my neck. It swelled up & rashy
looking & also had a bad smell on my finger after I touched it. I put
neosporin on it & took benedryl. I was told it was an Io Moth. It got worse
looking & turned brown (looked like a chemical burn)Got home went to my Dr.
it got infected & into my gland on my neck. Now on antibiotics, Dr. said it
could have been serious if it spread thru my glands.
27 Aug 2010, 23:51
I was stung by the saddleback caterpillar today. A neighbor told me to rub
clorox on it then take benadryl. I did the clorox rub and had benadryl
spray. It took the sting out fairly quick and I now no longer have swelling
or any rash at all. Glad he was around because it was extremely painful to
Stinging Nettle in Hawaii
01 Sep 2010, 00:48
My mom is an avid gardner and just got stung? by stinging nettle
caterpillar (black and white spikey, one inch in length). It is an invasive
species here in Hawaii. I found a bunch of articles on how it arrived here
on our island and lengthy articles on what it is (yawn)...but nothing on
what to do when sting by one. Her arm looks like she has a huge blister,
that is getting considerably worse. Her doctor took a culture on it and
they're awaiting the results. What do people do to treat their stings?
Ask the Exterminator
01 Sep 2010, 12:01
You are doing exactly the right thing. You went to a doctor.
04 Sep 2010, 10:32
A week ago Friday I came home from work to discover my daughter had a
swollen left eye. I knew she had been playing outside earlier that morning
so and figured a black fly had gotten her and didnt think anything of it.
When she got undressed that night she had a hell of a rash all over her
left side and some on both arms and her face. I took her to the doctors the
following Monday to discover she had a reaction to a caterpillar that she
was playing with that morning. Who would have thought? I am 39 years old
and used to play with them all the time and was never bothered. So just a
warning to others out there Dont let your children play with them and
protect yourself. They can be harmful in that manner.
16 Sep 2010, 23:51
I accidently stepped on a Saddle Back catepillar (barefooted) a couple of
years ago and ended up in the ER. It was one of the most painful bug
encounters I've ever had. Haven't seen another one since - but I won't go
near any catepillars now! Oh, and by the way, it had been eating my
rosebush. I haven't seen any of the articles on them say that they eat that
- but he had been munching on that bush for about 5 days before our
"unfortunate encounter" YIKES! Wish I knew about pulling out the hairs...
thanks for all the good info.
22 Sep 2010, 16:35
My Boyfriend Rubbed A "Wooly Bear" Caterpillar On My Arm And Now Its A
Rash. My Mom Said To Just Leave It Alone But It Itches And Burns. What
Should I Do?
Ask the Exterminator
22 Sep 2010, 23:17
Get a new boyfriend. Oh, and call a doctor.
24 Sep 2010, 08:14
Hi, I live in Southeastern Ontario, Canada and last evening I opened up my
garage door and saw abot 6 white fluffy caterpillars on the bottom of the
door, and when I closed it I must have touched one because within minutes
my left ring finger felt like it had a bunch of slivers in it and was
itching and burning at the same time. I noticed a lot of little hairs and
brushed them off. It kept itching and burning and then swelled up
(thankfully I took off my wedding rings) It is now still swollen and has
been itchy on and off. Also it has "spread" to my next finger and there is
one blister. It doesn't hurt but is annoying me as I can't really bend my
fingers from the swelling. Anti histamine hasn't kicked in yet. I didn't
know that caterpillars could cause this and as a child always played with
them, so I am glad to now know this so my children won't touch them. Thanks
for the info.
30 Sep 2010, 04:53
I also was stung while sitting under a tree.The fuzzy yellow ones started
dropping out of the tree & I had two crawling across my shoulders .It
started itching really bad and today I still had a cluster of bumps 6 days
later.The itching has stopped...Never knew that about them.This has been
03 Oct 2010, 16:35
Your site was by far the most helpful to me. A "wooly bear" dropped onto to
my neck from our apple tree when I was trying to capture an escaping
kitten. . .felt it on my neck about 5 minutes later, brushed it off--and
ouch! The wierdest part was when I retrieved the caterpillar from the
floor and examines it--there were about 8 tubular "legs" in two rows of 4
sticking out from the underside of the bug--gross out--I have never seen
this before. . .my question is I have already gone through allergic
reactions for about 24 hours--not life threatening--but will I end up on an
episode of "Monsters inside of Me"? Tell me they don't lay eggs inside
your skin! Itchy and feeling poorly in California
Ask the Exterminator
03 Oct 2010, 16:47
They don't lay eggs inside your skin.
28 Oct 2010, 23:09
The other day I swatted a wooly bear inside the leg of my jeans. I didn't
know it was a caterpillar (I thought a foxtail). I was working and I ended
up wearing my jeans all day. I woke up at night ITCHING terribly. I know
it is the caterpillar as the spots (rash) is very localized, with its exact
"spot of death" being a nearly solid welt. My questions: 1) what can I do
to lessen the irritation, and 2) how long is this going to take, generally?
Ask the Exterminator
31 Oct 2010, 08:55
Everyone reacts differently to insect stings and bites. See a doctor if you
06 Nov 2010, 14:58
My 9 year old son was just stung by a puss caterpillar in Conroe, Texas. He
was climbing a myrtle tree to retreive a ball. We thought it was the
customary wasp sting until he went to wash off the area with cool water and
rolled up his shirt to find a very fuzzy yellowish caterpillar. It got him
five times but handling it well. thanks so much to you because the pictures
of the caterpillar,the type sting and the help with the sticky tape is
exacly what we needed. now we are off to get an antihestimine...
10 Nov 2010, 07:06
Very helpful page. Still haven't seen any pictures of hairy one that I am
concerned about. They look like the wooly bear, but solid in color. Moving
fast along the ground, all over the place in November in D/FW area of
Texas. I always thought they stung, but my 5 yr old won't stay away from
them and hasn't been stung yet.
09 Dec 2010, 08:47
i believe that vinegar can also slow the itchyness and the burn, apply on
the ichty parts use cotton.
02 Apr 2011, 15:19
Uhh!!Their are Tussock Moth Caterpillars everywhere.I have many oak trees
in my backyard and i go by them every day to take laps.How do I protect
Ask the Exterminator
02 Apr 2011, 15:57
Open an umbrella or change your route.
04 Apr 2011, 19:40
my wife was stung on the neck by a tussok in ocala Florida today very nasty
reaction, it was on the back of her nec. rash has spread around to her
face, we're trying some of the remedies on this site
11 Apr 2011, 11:25
Your site was very useful I would how ever like to see more information
about being stung by a cocoon which is what I was stung by and pictures of
species cocoon types would help. Keep up the great work you guys
17 Apr 2011, 01:21
I was stung by a black and yellow caterpillar...it looked like a dead
flower to me...none of the ones on here look like it though...its swollen
now doesnt look to much like a welt. This type of caterpillar hangs around
near the ramona bowl in Hemet california.
02 Jun 2011, 10:49
I had tiny black hairs that resulted in a very itchy rash as well....
Dealing with it right now... I had no idea what happened to me... Oil of
oregano topically seems to be working beautifully in reliving the itch as
well as the inflammation.
30 Jun 2011, 21:27
My dad was bit by a saddleback, so this was very helpful!
29 Jul 2011, 06:31
I live in California & the other day I had just got out of my pool & as I
was laying out I felt something biting me... It looked like a light green
caterpillar, about an inch long or more but not only did it hurt bad.. it
left a huge welt & now half of my fore arm is bruised badly... is this
Ask the Exterminator
29 Jul 2011, 13:28
Your question is answered in the article.
03 Aug 2011, 12:16
Hey I got this bright non hairy green caterpillar with black dots around
it...its big enough to make a co-cone now but I've been keeping it in a
tank with grass and stuff it needs and also been touching it...at some
points when I try to take it off or something it takes out there red/orange
anterlers sticking up and moves its body like real fast and cricked like
i'm hurting it...is this a bad sign? its kind of stinky by the way.
18 Aug 2011, 10:56
We were in Cancun atving in Mayan jungle and a green fuzzy caterpillar fell
on my daughters leg. She had immediate pain and red bumps and black bumps
in middle (bruise looking). The black went away and changed to red and
swelling went down. Guide wasnt concerned but we gave her benedryl. Going
on day 3 and still itchy. Is this normal or something to worry about?
Ask the Exterminator
18 Aug 2011, 11:33
Different people react to insect stings in different ways. Benadryl is a
common treatment. You may want to speak with your doctor.
20 Aug 2011, 18:57
This is a very helpful page. Actually, a couple of years ago, I did a
powerpoint about the puss caterpillar, and I found out that the moth is
just as deadly as the caterpillar!
It was sooooooooooooooo interesting! Hehe, sorry if you guys already knew
23 Aug 2011, 01:25
My son had an appalling reaction to what I now know was a Hickory Tussock
caterpillar when he was about 4 -- both hands ended up covered in a
horribly painful and itchy rash for many days. We finally had to give him
tylenol with codeine just so he could sleep. Our whole family has been
leary of the darn things ever since. Unfortunately, that didn't stop me
from having one fall onto my neck this morning and then down the front of
my shirt. God bless icepacks, because the oral benedryl and cortisone cream
aren't cutting it.
06 Sep 2011, 06:21
I WAS STUNGED BY A PUSS WHEN I WAS CUTTING DOWN A TREE DONW HERE SOUTH OF
TEXAS RIGHT BY THE BORDER OF MEXICO...IT HURT AND WAS BURNING SO BAD MY
NECK WAS STIFF I STARTED GETTING HOT AND FEVER,, SHORTNESS OF BREATH I HAD
TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL...
30 Oct 2011, 15:40
My son was working in the yard and was stung by the io moth caterpillar.
This was in Texas in month of November while cleaning the yard. There was
some burning and redness. Everything is good so far.
28 Nov 2011, 14:41
Hi I got bitten by a uraba lugens wich is a type of cattipillar what should
It's red and puffy and it itch's lot please help me
Ask the Exterminator
28 Nov 2011, 14:50
Consult a doctor.
16 Dec 2011, 12:10
My daughter was touching her hibernating woolly bear caterpilars and
dropped one on her lap, she's got a horrible rash now all over her legs and
belly and its been there for two days noq, Just called the doctor but not
sure what she'll say, in my opinion i think it'll go away on its own. What
do you think?
Ask the Exterminator
09 Jan 2012, 14:06
Everyone reacts differently to insect stings.
07 Apr 2012, 21:56
Hey. My brother was outside working today and he came in and out of nowhere
he yells with a puffy rash with red dots on his ankle. I would like to know
what it is so I don't encounter one again at my lake.
09 Apr 2012, 15:42
I was just stung by a cat-pillar of unknown species. it left two "hair"
like "thorn" looking things in my hand. about 1 hour later my whole hand
turned into a "ballon". Later the right hand of my face was EXTREEMLY
swollen then later the left. Long story short I ended up in intesive care
with my throat swelling shut. Had I not got care when I did, I would not be
writing this e-mail. Just got home from the hospital after 3 days in
11 Apr 2012, 14:14
I was stung by a buck moth caterpillar on Monday, April 9th, around noon.
My only remendt was a frozen gel pack to sooth the sting. I have been stung
by many different insects and other things that never lead to an allergic
reaction or hospita visit. This is by far my worst sting from a
caterpillar but seems to be getting better. The skin raised, turned balck
and wasvery sensative the first night but there were no other symptoms. I
did and still feel fine - no nausea, fever, etc. If the mark on my skin
and sensative area surrounding the mark is getter smaller evry day, is it
basically healing? If I have not had any other reactions to the sting at
ths point, is there any chance it can still turn for the worse?
26 Apr 2012, 19:17
I got in contact with a Io moth caterpillar 3 weeks ago on my shoulder. I
developed big welts and lots of pain. The welts were gone after a while but
I woke up the next day with swollen gland on my neck. I got another swollen
gland on the other side on my neck. Any ideas? My doc didn't gave any im
portance to the carterpillar and instead gave me antibitics ???
I noticed on an earlier post that another doctos mentioned I could get to
11 Jul 2012, 03:09
I came in contact with a caterpillar of some sort about 4 years ago and I
still have the patch of little red dots it left me which covers an area of
skin about an inch in diameter. I was doing yard work in my back yard when
I felt a pinch on my lower stomach. I looked down and saw a fuzzy exotic
looking caterpillar crawling on my stomach. After I flicked off the
caterpillar, I saw it left a bunch of tiny hairs on my skin so I got tape
and tried to get it off but I guess I missed some. I cant believe after 4
years the scars are still there.
16 Jul 2012, 17:59
I got bit/stung with something on my upper thigh approx. 2 weeks ago while
I was gardening at first I thought mosquito but when I looked at my thigh
it was a 2 inch oval rash of small bumps so my next thought was red
ants-later I got a big red welt on my leg above-I have taken a few
Epsom-salt baths that helped the soreness then I found this site so at
least I know now for sure what bit me and what this rash is-it don't hurt
so much anymore but still there even after 2 weeks.
Chris in Iowa
01 Sep 2012, 13:39
My daughter is 8 yrs old and last Saturday she got stung by a puss moth
catepillar we found it on my nephews shirt. She is having horrible pain
in her lymphnodes through her whole body! The ER doctor knew nothing about
treating her. Sent us home and she has progressively gotten worse!!!
Yesterday our regular doctor tried to blow me off I insisted so he did
blood work but we won't have the results back till next Tuesday!! She is
getting paler, last night she had an episode with her stomach hurting
really badly! Today she is haing pains through her whole body again! From
her head to her knees!!! I am so scared does anyone have any information
on what can be done to help her??? The local doctors here know nothing!
02 Sep 2012, 22:55
Thanks for the info! I had no idea that caterpillars could cause a stingy
rash! Until I felt it today! I tried tea tree oil on the rash before I
read this site. The tea tree oil seems to have helped relieve some of the
sting! Thought that might be helpful info to add!
05 Oct 2012, 11:21
My little sister likes playing with all kinds of bugs and theres woolly
bear caterpillars all over and ive looked up if they're poisonous and some
say yes some say no. im so confused are they poisonous
Ask the Exterminator
05 Oct 2012, 11:30
It depends upon the caterpillar. Some caterpillars have hairs that irritate
human skin causing anything from a minor to severe rash.
24 Oct 2012, 20:04
Three days ago I had a "feathery" caterpillar down the back of my shirt for
3-4 hours while I was sitting on my couch, walking around my house, doing
laundry, etc. I kept feeling a prickly itchy feeling on my back, I'd
scratch at it through my shirt. I finally reached the back of my shirt
where the tag is at the neck and grabbed what I thought was some sort of
lint ball. It was a curled up caterpillar! My entire back is now COVERED
with a severe rash - I thought I had shingles again! The rash looks like
shingles, I feel bad just like when I've had shingles - only it's not on
one side of my body. I have spots on both arms, legs, stomach, under my
arms, the back of my neck. I have an appt with my dr in the morning. I'm
severely allergic to most insect bites, have developed shingles as a result
of them. Now I know exactly what I have! Thank you so much for this
site!!!!! I found a picture of the caterpillar on line. Will take it to my
doctor. I feel bad all over, feverish, achy, "nerve pain" just like I get
with shingles. It's bad but at least I know exactly what caused it!!!!!!
03 Nov 2012, 17:32
im nine years old and i was playing with a green caterpillar.it landed on
my hand.i screamed and it started gushing out green stuff.i thought it was
poison.then i screamed louder.i flicked it off luckly im okay.but this
webpage really helped.thank u.now i swear i will never touch a caterpillar
again.igot red of that green caterpiller.
23 Feb 2013, 01:11
Hi i also got bit by a wooly bear here down south texas and man did it
sting me..felt it all the way to my hip..burning and itching was crazy went
to doctor and told me to take aleve since im allergic to benadryl..Its been
day 3 and its still stinging slightly burning..My question is how long is
this going to take cause the heat here is not making it any better! Thank
you and this was the BEST INFO/BLOG!!!!!
11 May 2013, 20:44
Hi , im from singapore , i was walking out of my school to the nearest bus
stop , when i felt a crawling , ticklish feeling on my neck . I used my
hand to pick brush it off and realise it was a green yellowish caterpillar
with blue head . Right after that i felt a stinging sensation on the left
side of my neck . I didn't know what to do . So i just wash it with water
and thought it would be ok . But thn when i got home , it become super bad
. Rashes was all over my left side of the neck and it was itchy and pain .
I quickly ask my mum to apply vinegar on it to ease the itchiness . Im glad
i read this article , but i guess its abit late because i didn't know that
caterpillar leaves poisonous spines and hair , i am still having rashes and
swelling . I hope it will get better . What else can i do to to reduce the
14 May 2013, 01:21
I was trying to retrieve my cat that had got outside. I was holding on to
the rail of the stairs outside. The cat ran but I came in with a stinging
hand. Washed the area and packed on some baking soda paste. Also took a
I went out and looked to see if was a spider and instead I see a spiny
black and white caterpillar staring back at me. It stung like crazy for an
almost an hour until the antihistamine kicked in.