Results for - White Hickory Tussock Caterpillar

1,740 voters participated in this survey

Area residents may have noticed a cute white and black caterpillar creeping its way through local foliage lately. But don't let their pretty exterior fool you. These caterpillars, formally known as the white hickory tussock moth caterpillar, can cause allergic reactions to humans if touched. Franklin Klock, a naturalist with the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill, said it appears that this year was a busy year for the species, which is native to Canada, Nova Scotia and more into the Northeast. He said it could have been a good food source season last fall, which led to the overabundance of these caterpillars this year. The caterpillars hatch between June and September and eat to feed their insatiable appetites. They are currently looking for a particular host plant to make their cocoons for the winter. Typically they enjoy pecan, hickory, walnut, ash, oak, willow, apple and elm trees, as well as corn leaves, vegetable plants and other shrubbery. A 'hairy' situation The problem with these little critters though is the long, bristlelike black tufts that jut out of its head and backside. These hairs excrete venom on contact and can cause allergic reactions in some people. Klock said that reactions could be mild and include a red rash and some pain and swelling to severe, including extreme pain, burning and anaphylaxis. "Reactions seen on humans is a lot like a stinging nettle (or poison ivy)," he said, noting that most who react will feel itching and burning almost immediately. "Some people with respiratory issues such as asthma, where their system is compromised, may be more affected if they touch the caterpillar." "If you do touch one, call your doctor if you notice any reaction or if you have questions," Klock said. "It affects everyone differently." What do to if you touch one If you are out preparing your garden for the winter or playing outside and happen to touch this caterpillar, there are some things you can do to help lessen the reaction. Ÿ Wash the affected area with soap and water Ÿ Take antihistamines Ÿ Use ammonia, calamine lotion or an ice pack Ÿ Seek immediate medical attention if the reaction becomes severe http://www.tnonline.com/2014/oct/09/caterpillar-can-cause-allergic-reactions

Have you heard of this caterpillar before?

1. Have you heard of this caterpillar before?

Yes
14%
239 votes
No
74%
1,288 votes
Undecided
4%
76 votes
Not Applicable
8%
137 votes

2. If yes, have you ever touched one & experienced an allergic reaction?

Yes
4%
69 votes
No
33%
569 votes
Undecided
3%
53 votes
Not Applicable
60%
1,049 votes

3. If you did experience an allergic reaction, did using cortisone cream relieve the symptoms?

Yes
4%
65 votes
No
10%
176 votes
Undecided
3%
47 votes
Not Applicable
83%
1,452 votes
04/12/2016 Living 1740 19 By: lizmarie1975

Comments

Load more comments...
Loading...
lizmarie1975 profile photo
By: lizmarie1975