Puss Caterpillar or Asp — General Information 111

— This article by Jerry Cates, first published on 7 March 2010, was last revised on 22 January 2014. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 11:03(09).

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Introduction:
Blonde Puss Caterpillar in Pine Bark

Blonde Puss Caterpillar in Pine Bark

The puss caterpillar is the larva of an insect in the order Lepidoptera.

More specifically, it is a flannel moth (so-called because the adult moth is clothed in short fine hairs that resemble flannel in texture) in the family Megalopygidae: from the Greek root μεγας (MEG-as) = great, vast, large + the Greek root πυγη (PIDGE-ee) = rump, tail + the Greek patronymic suffix –ιδες (eye-DEES) commonly used in zoological taxonomy to indicate a family name, in reference to a family of moths typically having an exaggerated tail, honoring the fact that these caterpillars often–but not always–trail a conspicuous tail of hairs; this family is presently represented by 23 recognized genera that are found in North America and in the New World Tropics; in North America as many as 44 species — generally described as that group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring — have been described, some of which may be synonyms, but all of which are known, while in the larval (caterpillar) stage, to produce extremely painful stings in humans who come into contact with them.

The species   cited most often is Megalopyge opercularis, but a number of other species present a similar outer guise, are equipped with near-identical envenomating structures, and produce a similar sting on contact with human skin.

Most are now considered to be members of the genus Megalopyge , but the crinkled flannel moth–also known as the black-waved flannel moth–is classified by some authorities as a member of the genus Lagoa (Lagoa crispata), and by others as Megalopyge crispata.

In the material that follows, because the gross features of most, if not all of these moths are essentially identical, no attempt will be made to distinguish between them.

Puss Caterpillar on Twig

Puss Caterpillar on Twig

Puss Caterpillar on Yaupon Leaf

Puss Caterpillar on Yaupon Leaf

The larval stage of this insect is a small (2 cm. long, 1 cm. wide), woolly, pussycat-appearing caterpillar.

Its innocent, cuddly-looking appearance belies the numerous sharp, venom-laden spines, hidden beneath its luxuriant coat of soft hairs.

Because these caterpillars appear as innocuous pieces of fluff, children and adults are tempted to pick them up.

Even those who know their nasty reputations find it difficult to believe that these beautifully adorned animals — that have all the earmarks of a benign, friendly, comforting creature —have the power to move powerful, grown men to tears of pain and agony.

One touch, however, quells all doubts in a blinding instant of truth. Talk about pain… Wow1 The puss caterpillar knows how to dish it out. Most of the time (some, thankfully, don’t sting, probably because a chance genetic mutation prevents their bodies from manufacturing the venom that otherwise fills their spines.

Puss Caterpillar Sting on Right Bicep

Puss Caterpillar Sting on Right Bicep

Puss Caterpillar Sting Under Arm

Puss Caterpillar Sting Under Arm

The spines that stick out from each verruca (a Latin word meaning “wart”; in this case a glandular excrescence on the skin of the caterpillar that houses venom glands and is adorned dorsally with sharp, hollow, venomous spines) on the body of the caterpillar usually , but not always, induce an immediate onset of excruciating, unrelenting pain.

The pain usually radiates rapidly to the lymph nodes in the armpit or groin, and then to the chest.

Though only rarely representing a true medical emergency, these symptoms have the feel of a genuine, serious, life-threatening event.

As a result, it is common for victims of puss caterpillar stings to seek medical assistance at hospital emergency rooms, where they hope that the E.R. staff will be able to apply appropriate medical interventions.

Sometimes Emergency Room physicians, nurses, and EMTs recognize the puss caterpillar’s distinctive sting wound immediately, but — surprisingly often — these personnel have no knowledge of the puss caterpillar or its sting, much less of the most effective medical interventions the sting calls for.

Individuals who go to emergency rooms for treatment of puss caterpillar stings may be misdiagnosed by inexperienced medical personnel as suffering from a wide range of acute and generally serious medical conditions.

Healthy Puss Caterpillar Ventral Surface

Healthy Puss Caterpillar Ventral Surface

Within minutes or hours of the sting event, a halo of reddened skin, caused by capillary congestion, forms. The reddened tissue is locally sensitive, painful, and warm or hot to the touch.

The skin remains reddened but otherwise unmarked for minutes or hours. As the local redness subsides, a pattern of darker, raised, nodular lesions forms, usually within 24 hours after the sting. These darker lesions are arranged in a characteristic pattern.

The sting pattern varies based on which portion of the caterpillar touches the body.

The puss caterpillar’s underside is shown in the photo at left. This portion of the caterpillar contacts the surface of the caterpillar’s track as the caterpillar crawls along. Note the way the hairs along the edges of the body emerge from swollen “warts” or verrucae (raised tubercular ridges, arranged along the median of each body segment).

Though the soft hairs themselves are harmless, these same swellings also sport a multitude of sharp, venomous spines capable of injecting the caterpillar’s venom into the skin of a sting victim.  If the underside is pressed against the body, the visible sting pattern (that shows up later) will follow this shape; if one side of the caterpillar is involved, the sting pattern is usually that of a crosshatched triangle, with each of the verrucae involved in the sting showing in the pattern. If the upper surface is pressed against the skin, the sting pattern is that of a crosshatched oval.

The sting pattern usually begins to show within 24 hours, but the full pattern may not be expressed for hours or days after the sting occurs.

The photos below show puss caterpillar stings on a right foot foot (L) and forearm (R). The lateral (side) surface of a caterpillar had been crushed against the foot, while the stings on the forearm were caused when the upper bodies of two caterpillars were crushed by pressing the arm against a railing where the caterpillars were crawling. Note the regular pattern of dark red spots in the photos; these spots correspond to the verrucae in the body of the caterpillar, showing where the concentrations of fragile, venomous spines penetrated the sting victim’s skin. In the majority of cases, these spines break off during penetration and slowly release their store of venom as long as they remain embedded. Each spine, as described by Nathan C. Foot in his 1921 paper on the subject, is one-third to one millimeter long, and 15-45 microns in diameter. Such microscopic structures cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, because human flesh tends to push embedded foreign objects outward, even spines that have penetrated deeply will move toward the surface of the skin–where they may be extracted manually–within a relatively short time. This fact figures prominently in the treatment options that should be considered when dealing with a puss caterpillar sting.

Puss Caterpillar Sting on Side of Foot

Puss Caterpillar Sting on Side of Foot

Puss Caterpillar Sting Under forearm

Puss Caterpillar Sting Under forearm

These photos were taken several hours after the sting event.

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Links:   (1) Puss Caterpillar General Information.    (2) The Puss Caterpillar’s Stinging Apparatus. (3) Puss Caterpillar Extermination. (4) The Puss Caterpillar’s Natural Predators. (5). Puss Caterpillar Stings–Medical Interventions. (6) Puss Caterpillar Stings–Home Remedy First Aid Measures.

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Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Animalia (ahn-uh-MAYHL-yuh)  — first described in 1758 by the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), using the Latin word animal = “a living being,” from the Latin word anima = “vital breath”, to refer to multicellular, eukaryotic organisms whose body plans become fixed during development, some of which undergo additional processes of metamorphosis later in their lives; most of which are motile, and thus exhibit spontaneous and independent movements; and all of whom are heterotrophs that feed by ingesting other organisms or their products;
  • Phylum Arthropoda (ahr-THROPP-uh-duh) first described in 1829 by the French zoologist Pierre André Latreille [November 20, 1762 – February 6, 1833], using the two Greek roots αρθρον (AR-thrawn) = jointed + ποδ (pawd) = foot, in an obvious reference to animals with jointed feet, but in the more narrow context of the invertebrates, which have segmented bodies as well as jointed appendages;
  • Class Insecta (ehn-SEK-tuh) — first described in 1758 by the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), using the Latin word insectum, a calque of the Greek word ἔντομον ( EN-toh-mawn) = “(that which is) cut into sections”; comprised of arthropods with chitinous external (exo-) skeletons, a three part body composed of a distinct head, thorax, and abdomen, the midmost part having three pairs of jointed legs, and the foremost part having a pair of compound eyes and antennae;
  • Subclass Pterygota (tare-ee-GOH-tah) — first described in 1888 by Lang, using the Greek roots πτερυξ (TARE-oos) = wing, to refer to insects with wings, or that had wings but in the process of evolution have since lost them;
  • Infraclass Neoptera (nee-OPP-tur-uh) — first described in 1890 by the Dutch entomologist Frederick Maurits van der Wulp (1818-1899) using the Greek roots νεος (NEE-ose) = youthful, new + πτερυ (TARE-ohn) = wing, to refer to winged insects that are capable of folding their wings over their abdomens, in contrast to more primitive winged insects that are unable to flex their wings in this manner (e.g., the dragonflies, in the infraclass Paleoptera);
  • Superorder Endopterygota (ehn-doh-tare-ee-GOH-tah) — first described by the English physician and entomologist David Sharp (1840-1922) using the Greek root ενδον (ENN-dohn) = within + the established expression pterygota (see above) to refer to insects within the latter subclass that undergo complete metamorphosis, i.e., larval, pupal, and adult stages;
  • Order Lepidoptera (lep-uh-DOPP-tur-uh) — first formally described in 1758 (though he coined the expression in 1735, informally) by the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), using the Greek roots λεπιδωτος (lepp-eh-DOH-tose) = scaly + πτερυ (TARE-ohn) = wing, to refer to insects with scales covering their wings, i.e., the moths and butterflies;
  • Family Megalopygidae (megg-uh-low-PIDGE-uh-dee) —  from the Greek root μεγας (MEG-as) = great, vast, large + the Greek root πυγη (PIDGE-ee) = rump, tail + the Greek patronymic suffix -ιδες (eye-DEES) commonly used in zoological taxonomy to indicate a family name, in reference to a family of moths typically having an exaggerated tail, honoring the fact that these caterpillars often–but not always–trail a conspicuous tail of hairs; this family is presently represented by 23 recognized genera that are found in North America and in the New World Tropics; in North America as many as 44 species have been described, some of which may be synonyms, but all of which are known, while in the larval (caterpillar) stage, to produce extremely painful stings in humans who come into contact with them;

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REFERENCES:

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Questions? Corrections? Comments? BUG ME RIGHT NOW! Feel free to e-mail jerry.cates@bugsinthenews.info. You may also leave a detailed comment in the space provided below.

111 thoughts on “Puss Caterpillar or Asp — General Information

  1. Reply Claire Albright Sep 11,2013 6:54 am

    I was browsing this evening when I discovered this information. I am happy that a childhood mystery has been solved. In 1946 I was swinging in a huge wisteria vine when I was stung on my arm below the elbow. When I screamed out in pain I remember looking down at this fuzzy little creature on my arm An unforgettable experience if you are the unlucky person to come in contact with this little beast. After all these years I still remember the pain and the aches in my arm pits. I could only describe it as a white fuzzy looking dinosaur, apparently it was arched, because I vividly remember it had a hump like the large Rex dinosaur. ( I was only 5 years old.) My family could not find the ” tiny fuzzy dinosaur” but they knew the pain because of my crying and the blisters that soon appeared on my very red arm. The memory has haunted me all these years not knowing what had stung me….mystery now solved. I am sure it was the puss caterpillar. Thanks for publishing this article.

  2. Reply Bonnie Sep 11,2013 7:37 am

    I’ve never seen, nor heard of these before seeing the Facebook post today warning about them. I’m hoping to get some information regarding their typical geographical locations they are found in. I have two lite girls who would try to snuggle these in a heartbeat! I’ve read on here about them located in FL and NO, have they ever been reported in KY or IL?

  3. Reply sue Sep 11,2013 11:30 am

    do these exist inCanada??????

  4. Reply Jandy Sep 11,2013 8:33 pm

    Is this located in all zones in the US?

  5. Reply Christine Sep 12,2013 9:04 am

    Just wondering if these caterpillars/moths are found in any particular area of the country. I live in Western NY and have never heard of this type of bug.

  6. Reply gabby Sep 12,2013 10:05 am

    Do these things live in west virginia? I have never heard of them until now but as reading i noticed that everyone was far down south.

  7. Reply Elias Tallas Sep 12,2013 11:05 am

    I received this email through a member of Thousand Trails RV Parks. It is one of the most important emails that I have received in a very long time. It will be added to my emergency management manual that I maintain for reference. Thanks for the information.

  8. Reply Naomi Sep 12,2013 11:52 am

    From what I read online, typically these do not range farther north than Maryland. However, I encountered one in Norther NJ this summer (during the week of 7/29/13). Fortunately I am familiar with their stinging potential, and did not allow any of the children with me to handle it.

    I have several photographs of it, if you are interested.

  9. Reply Sam Sears Sep 12,2013 12:55 pm

    What areas are they in? I see comments from Florida and Carolina. Are they confined to the south or areas near the ocean? I live in Indiana.

    Thank you…

  10. Reply Pat Sep 12,2013 2:47 pm

    In what parts of the USA are these disgusting things found? I hope not in Pennsylvania! We have a plague of stink bugs here and that’s quite enough!

  11. Reply Laine M. Billiot Sep 12,2013 10:24 pm

    I found one of these caterpillars while tearing down an old wooden fence. I was amazed at how cute it looked. It looks like a little mammal because of the “hair”. I put it in a bug box to watch it turn into a moth, but it died. I am glad I never touched it. We live in Houma, LA. I will tell everyone I know to BEWARE! Thanks for the info.

  12. Reply Sharon Bishop Sep 13,2013 8:09 am

    I was just wondering if anyone had ever used Homeopathy for these stings? I know there is a remedy for bee stings and etc. I know Homeopathic works like a miracle for a lot of things. The remedy Hypericum works for hurt fingers and toes and wonder if it would work on the stings where the fingers were involved. Curious

  13. Reply Crystal Sep 13,2013 8:50 am

    too many posts to read.
    but what areas are these found in.
    im in KY i have seen one caterpillar this year ive never seen before but its body shape and fuzz are just like the others i have ever seen just different colors.

  14. Reply Denice Johnson Sep 13,2013 9:11 am

    I have been reading all these comments and they pretty much all seem to be from the southern states. I live in Pa., are these caterpillars in my part of the country ?

  15. Reply Jeanie Sep 13,2013 1:01 pm

    Where are these little spit fires found? I live in Michigan. Do I need to worry about them?

  16. Reply Sandy Sep 13,2013 3:16 pm

    What area are these found in?

  17. Reply Sandy Sep 13,2013 3:18 pm

    What area are these found in ?

  18. Reply Joe Johnson Sep 13,2013 5:43 pm

    I live in NW Georgia and heard about someone who got very sick from one of these. I was just down at my swimming hole on the river and these things are everywhere. Large ones to small. They are light green to off white in color with a red head and several spines sticking out of their bodies. I will be sure to show these to my granddaughters so they will know what to stay away from.

  19. Reply Allyson Sep 13,2013 7:43 pm

    I read “most” of the entire article, and I still found no information on the areas where these caterpillars are located. From what I’m reading I’m assuming it is mostly southern U.S. could you please specify more clearly where they are located!

  20. Reply peggy Sep 14,2013 2:19 am

    Hello, a friend of mine posted a small story about this on Facebook. And from what I have read most people are from Louisiana or Florida. I live in Kentucky and have family in Ohio, Colorado as well as here. So where all do they live? Can they live in any state or is it basically in the south? I would like to pass this on but every one I have on FB are in those 3 states. Thank you for any answers you can give me.

  21. Reply Judy Marcum Sep 14,2013 4:23 am

    i never heard of them. but, i’ll sure be watching for them now. DRs. need to know how to treat them. Good luck to anyone who runs across one!

  22. Reply Elaine C Sep 14,2013 4:28 am

    When I was a child in the 60s we were told at school about these asps, as there seemed to be an invasion of them at that time. We were told that they were falling down from hackberry trees. I never got hit from the trees but I have been stung twice on my hand when I put my hand on one by accident.It was crawling on a metal pipe. It stung for a while but soon I felt better. The second time I was sitting on the walk, trimming lawn edges and I put my leg down on an asp. I became ill with nausea and this time hurt much more. The contact point left the dot pattern of the underside of the caterpillar. The dots were visible for a while as a scar on my skin. After a few hours, I felt ok again. I think I just laid down. Can’t recall taking anything. That was in southern Dallas Tx. 75208. Now I’m in Plano Tx and I have only seen a few here over the 26 yrs.here. I will warn my family to watch out for them cause fall is when they appear. I sure would never touch ANY caterpillar after being stung.

  23. Reply Cass Sep 14,2013 2:07 pm

    What does the moth it turns into look like?

  24. Reply Mary C Sep 14,2013 7:05 pm

    I was stung by one of these devils about 15 years ago, while sitting outside after dark talking to a neighbor, it had climbed on the arm of the chair where I put my arm, at first it tickled my arm as I brushed against it. Then the fire started the pain was the worst, worse than a bee sting. The pain so bad it was hard for me to get any sleep that night. I live in Waco, Texas, I have never seen any in Kansas where I was born. In Waco we had a tree by our back door it had dozens of these things on it, I got a coffee can and knocked as many of them as I could into the can with insecticide in it and killed them. I knew they were bad because, my neighbor had one crawl on the back of her young sons neck and when he brushed it off, everywhere the hairs touched he was stung. He was miserable from the pain, they are called Asp.

  25. Reply Andrea M. Sep 15,2013 12:27 am

    This family is presently represented by 23 recognized genera that are found in North America and in the New World Tropics; in North America as many as 44 species have been described, some of which may be synonyms, but all of which are known, while in the larval (caterpillar) stage, to produce extremely painful stings in humans who come into contact with them. I am looking for any specific states….but I am just going to assume that it could be any of them.

  26. Reply CC Sep 15,2013 10:49 pm

    They are found in Southern United States, Mexico,and Central America.

  27. Reply Miles Nelson Sep 15,2013 11:03 pm

    I saw one that looked like this on our back patio just last week. I thought it might have been a developing “Wooly Worm that show up as brown to red brown with a black middle stripe. I did not touch it and my dogs did not appear interested at the time, but now I will certainly pay more attention. I recently cleared and trimmed some thick rose bushes and a fast growing young tree out near the back of our home, but have only seen this one. I live in Raymore, MO, on the far south edge of the KC MO Metro area and until I saw this facebook entry, had never heard of them. I worked in Pest Control from 1972 to 1985 and don’t remember having a report of such and insect in that time period.

  28. Reply Gerry Dionne Sep 16,2013 7:09 am

    M. opercularis can be found on oaks, elms, citrus and other trees, and many garden plants such as roses and ivy. It is distributed throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America. The larva does not spin a real cocoon, rather, it separates from its furry skin and uses it as a protective covering while it pupates.

  29. Reply angie Sep 16,2013 3:42 pm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18344102

    where these things are thought to be located.

  30. Reply Carolyn Cupitt Sep 16,2013 3:43 pm

    Are these found in australia at all.

  31. Reply jimbo Sep 16,2013 3:49 pm

    I lives in a small alabama city called daphne. I was down by the lake in my yard and i noticed my arm started stinging like my sister/wife was hitting me upside the head. next then i saw was a furry little bug on my arm. luckily it just hurt really bad and left a unusual red mark on my arm. stay clear of these catepilurs. i kept it as a pet and still do not have a butterfly

  32. Reply Vicky York Sep 16,2013 6:19 pm

    M. opercularis can be found on oaks, elms, citrus and other trees, and many garden plants such as roses and ivy. It is distributed throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America.

  33. Reply Phyllis Deany Sep 17,2013 3:50 pm

    Typically found in woodland areas in the southern US.

  34. Reply Lisa Murr Sep 18,2013 1:26 am

    OMG, I just had my first encounter with these fuzzy little creatures YESTERDAY!! There are more than one on my front door at this very moment..they’re apparently drawn to my door because they’re building little cocoons on it. I cannot believe this! One fell off the top of the door, falling just a couple inches from my face. Since I’ve never seen or heard of this thing before, just like many others, I was struck by how cute the little guys are and contemplated picking one up and moving from my doormat to the nearby bushes. All I can say is someone above was watching over me yesterday and kept the one from falling onto my face and me from picking up the other on my mat. I’m still shaking my head in shock at how close I’ve come to being stung by not one, but two of these in the past 24hrs! Now how the heck do I get rid of those cocoons?!

  35. Reply violet morrison Sep 18,2013 10:21 am

    I have a lot of grand children and live in NC and never heard of these either but would like to know if there is a way of getting the stinger out and what can a Doc do and can we do something as a parent or grand parent to help our child

  36. Reply christinemkilheeney Sep 18,2013 12:08 pm

    what do u put on the bite for the pain an infection ,do u use neosporin or a triple antibiotic or ice ? what should be done ? and thanks for the info. they look so cute.!

  37. Reply Tony Wood Sep 19,2013 11:56 am

    From what I’m reading, they can be found from New Jersey all the way down to Florida and extend as far west as Arkansas and Texas. The largest gathering of them seems to stem from Dallas on down.

    http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Creatures/MISC/MOTHS/puss.htm

  38. Reply Mount Pleasant, SC Sep 20,2013 2:50 am

    I just found one today in Mount Pleasant, SC. So glad this sucker didn’t spit in my face when he raised up the front half of his body! He landed on me while I was walking under an oak tree! I took a photo and did a Reverse Google Image Search! Bingo, most poisonous caterpillar in the USA.. aah!

  39. Reply deborah davis Sep 20,2013 7:21 am

    I have planted several wisteria trees, that have come from texas, and several other plants indigenous to the south, is it possible to breed here in michigan, and could they adapt to our weather, geez i hope not, we have enough bugs, and I’m paranoid anyways for my family.

  40. Reply florida Sep 21,2013 5:15 am

    This is incredible. I havent seen one of these in over 35 yrs. But instantly I recognized it! Its a “puss moth”! someone posted a picture on my Facebook page.The moment I saw it,I broke a mean sweat. Then began to tell of my experience. Seriously and no excageration people. I was 12 and waiting for the school bus, I clumb a honeybell tree,to get my treat.It was early. About 7 a.m. Palm city Fla. Boat ramp rd. Just as I reached for that orange, I leaned hard into the branches. Wham!Something stung, and I saw a 1/2 in long,bright white, little cotton ball looking, thing fall to the ground. My eyes watched it, because I knew I was stung but it felt different than a bee? Forget that orange. I literaly jumped down. I found the fuzz ball.But already I was in bad pain. Next thing I looked at my arm pit,lower left side. There was a red whelp about 2 inches long, raising up. Nobody around to yell out to. I hit the road, headed towards home. I think I made it around 100 ft.? I swear. Iwas screaming and couldnt move. It paralized me literaly. I remember I couldnt raise my arm to look see? By that time in my life I had been in several accidents. Had broke a few bone’s etc. But this was way different. I was crawling on my knee’s in the dirt road, when Mis Savage found me. She had to literaly carry me over the little foot bridge to her house and inside. Her husband “Clady” ask me to explain.Not two words later, he grabbed me up and we headed to my home. “Clady” was a real cowboy. And worked down in the florida everglades some, harvesting Cypress trees. Another home of the “Puss Moth”.He knew exactly what was going on.He got me home and explained to my family the nature of my shock symtom’s.I remember him telling that it was the worst sting sight he’d seen. I was in paralizeing pain for over 8 hrs. My Grandma called the hospital. The Dr.s gave her the go ahead. She gave me a Percocet. Then another. Finally,, late that evening I came around. I cant believe how bad a little fuzzy bug can cause such painful result. Even days after. I was real sore. I have a keen eye for rattle snakes,alligator’s,wasps,bee’s,scorpions,spiders,tics,even a flee. But, not like the eye I have for the “Puss Moth Larva” Some thing’s you Never Forget! Thats my storie. The end

  41. Reply brian Sep 22,2013 6:52 am

    Found one on the sidewalk at my house near Atlanta yesterday. Luckily before my dog found it. These and Saddleback caterpillars are horrible to get stung by. I don’t kill animals of any sort and relocated it to a safe place. But if stung by one you definitely know it. These feel almost like you’re having a heart attack and saddlebacks feel like someone is branding you with an iron that takes hours to cool.

  42. Reply Tara Sep 22,2013 10:50 pm

    I’m from western ky and saw one of these little creatures 2 weeks ago at a park while feeding ducks on a pond. It looked pretty but I was leary of touching it. Im glad I didn’t!

  43. Reply Jamie Sep 23,2013 8:53 am

    My daughter found two and we are from Central PA. No one has been harmed. We have a lot of traffic here lately. (gas & oil field) from the South. They must be hitching rides with them…

  44. Reply DeniseH Sep 24,2013 11:12 am

    I haven’t seen one of these since the late 1940s when I sat down on a bench to wait for a bus in Fort Worth, Texas; I was about 13.. The thing got me behind the knee, and I thought I was going to die right there. I saw what had gotten me and had seen them before in our back yard; luckily, this was the first and last time I was stung by one. It’s something you never forget once you’ve been stung by one. We also called them asps, and they are pretty. Yuck!

  45. Reply mammabug Sep 25,2013 10:19 pm

    The southern flannel moth is found from New Jersey to Florida and west to Arkansas and Texas (Covell 2005). It is common in Florida but reaches its greatest abundance in Texas from Dallas southward in the western central part of the state (Bishopp 1923).

  46. Reply Bob Sep 26,2013 3:14 pm

    Live in Hawaii and their is a caterpillar called the stinging nettle which appeared here several years ago. Apparently it leaves a painful sting when the spiney hairs are touched. Weird insects are always being brought in by international travelers.

  47. Reply joy Sep 27,2013 10:25 pm

    My 5 year old grandson came in contact with one of these while on a camping trip. Here in lower Texas. I had some First Aide spray, which I apply a.s.a.p. He did cry for a while, but nothing like he would have if I hadn’t had the spray. I always keep some handy just in case. I remember 50 years ago when my sister found out just how bad these things are. Mother knew what it was when she saw her arm..She spray First Aide on it also. So after I was grown, I have always made sure I have some.

  48. Reply Linda Reed Sep 28,2013 4:29 pm

    live in Upper Michigan and my sister and I were gardening, she said she got bit or stung by something and I thought she was nuts acting like a baby because that it hurt so much now I know what it must of been

  49. Reply frankie Oct 1,2013 2:55 am

    what is the antidote? I use bleach on bee or wasp stings to neutralize the venom. will that work with the puss moth sting? Houston Texas.. It’s something you never forget once you’ve been stung by one, and that was 50 years ago!! We also called them asps,I will never touch one again.

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