Stinging and Venomous Caterpillars
The four major stinging caterpillars occurring in Florida are the puss caterpillar, saddleback caterpillar, Io moth caterpillar and hag caterpillar. Some less common ones also occur in the state. These caterpillars do not possess stingers, but have spines (nettling hairs) that are connected to poison glands. Some people experience severe reactions to the poison released by the spines and require medical attention. Others experience only an itching or burning sensation.
Place clear tape over the affected area and strip off repeatedly to remove spines. Apply ice packs to reduce the stinging sensation, and follow with a paste of baking soda and water. If the victim has a history of hay fever, asthma or allergy, or if allergic reactions develop, contact a physician immediately.
---SP107: Stinging and Venomous Caterpillars
- Stinging and Venomous Caterpillars of the Southeast
- Buck moth Hemileuca maia (Drury)
- Fir Tussock Moth Orgyia detrita Guérin-Méneville, 1831 (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Lymantriinae)
- Io Moth Automeris io (Fabricius) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)
- Laurelcherry Smoky Moth, Neoprocris floridana Tarmann 1984 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Zygaenoidea: Zygaenidae: Procridinae)
- Puss Caterpillar (Larva), Southern Flannel Moth (Adult), Megalopyge opercularis (J. E. Smith 1797) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Zygaenoidea: Megalopygidae)
- Saddleback Caterpillar Acharia stimulea (Clemens) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Limacodidae)