Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Watch Out for Puss Caterpillars!

Asp or Puss Caterpillar
Photo: Martha Cray
Puss caterpillars, AKA Asps, are being seen in some pretty significant numbers this fall.  These small, fuzzy, blonde, almost cuddly looking fuzz balls can pack a mean punch.
Embedded within the hairy facade are venomous spines, which can result in a blister or burn reaction on the skin to more severe reactions such as vomiting or worse.  In general, it is believed that the severity of the reaction depends on the age of the larva and thickness of the skin it encountered.

Shrub with several asps.
Photo: Martha Cray
Puss caterpillars can be found on trees and shrubbery.  Usually where one is found, many are close by.  If you encounter one, avoid it - this is not something you want to experience!  If you have an outbreak on a tree or shrub, it would probably be a good idea to treat the foliage to avoid unnecessary stings.  Bt when they are actively feeding on foliage, spinosad or permethrin are recommended products.  Be sure to follow all labels carefully.

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