Who doesn't love a butterfly? There is something magical about stepping into a clearing and having a hundred butterflies take to the air and flutter around you. In Gainesville, there are even a few moths that could do the same thing. There is quite a colorful assortment of moths in Florida. Some of them are so beautiful, all it takes is a single moth to make you stare in wonder. The Flannel moth is such a moth. This fluffy, golden moth, with its furry legs and beautiful markings, is a sight to behold, an exotic creature anyone would love to have around their home. Right? The only problem with the flannel moth is that before it takes to the air as a cute, exotic moths, it must start its life as the most deadly stinging caterpillar in the United States.
Let's put this in perspective. Caterpillars are basically baby moths. Does it make any sense that we should be afraid of a baby 'anything'? An adult bear is something to be scared of, but a baby bear is cuddly and adorable. A wild dog is a scary thing to run into, but a puppy--even in the wild--is just the cutest thing. Why then should we be afraid of a moth baby? Moths are tiny, harmless things. Shouldn't their babies be even more harmless? Most are, I guess. But not the caterpillar for the flannel moth. This bad boy--aptly named the puss caterpillar--is nothing you want to mess around with. Ever.
This caterpillar may look like something the cat coughed up, but it is nothing you want to dismiss. Underneath all that crazy tan hair are short, toxic spines. If you brush against this caterpillar, you'll know it. When these spines snap, they release an irritating fluid that causes a stinging, burning sensation on the skin. Some say it is more painful than being stung by a jellyfish or a wasp. This is not surprising since the puss caterpillar's poison is considered to cause the most painful and severe reaction of any urticating species of caterpillar in the United States. Severe symptoms include, numbness and swelling that spreads to an entire arm or leg, nausea, vomiting, a weeping rash and swollen lymph nodes for 12 to 24 hours.
If you are stung by a puss caterpillar, gently apply adhesive tape to the area and pull away spines from the skin to reduce exposure to the poisons. Apply a cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling. And, use hydrocortisone creams and medication to manage the pain. And, it is always a good idea to get medical help, especially if you have never experienced a caterpillar sting.
There is currently no pest control measures that directly target puss caterpillars, but general pest protection will work to keep these creatures from entering your home. Having a home pest control service from McCall is the answer to keeping them at bay. Contact the professionals here today. Remember, call McCall, we do it all!