Monday, April 20, 2020

This Caterpillar Says DON'T TOUCH ME!

It is a good general rule of thumb to avoid caterpillars with hairs or barbs coming from their body.  There is a good chance they are stinging caterpillars.

Eastern Buck Moth Caterpillar
Photo: Molly Keck
This guy, an Eastern Buck Moth Caterpillar (Hemileuca maia)
has been found all over the San Antonio area this spring and it would be wise to avoid it.  They are stinging caterpillars and everyone reacts differently, so don't touch!

I had the misfortune of getting one on my pants the other day and accidentally bringing it inside.  When I rested my hand on my leg, I encountered the hairs/barbs and it didn't feel good!  Itched and left an uncomfortable feeling on my thumb for a couple hours.

These caterpillars will turn into interesting looking moths, called Eastern Buck Moths.  What amazes me, is that the caterpillar (immature form) is so much larger than the moth (adult form)!

There isn't much you can do about managing these caterpillars until they all pupate and go away, so for now, just don't touch!  You are more likely to encounter them as they leave their host plant in search of a spot to pupate, which is currently happening.  They aren't aggressive and won't come after you, but they can drop from trees.

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