‘Tis the season where little ones discover a world full of creepy, crawly things in the backyard and the playground. Centipedes, inchworms, and caterpillars make great finds for anyone’s bug catcher, but know that there are several creatures to beware of.
Several types of caterpillars can cause a very ugly reaction because of their stinging hairs. The good news is that only a few of the thousands of variety of caterpillars sting. However, if you come across a stinger, be careful of its hairs, which once embedded in skin, release toxins that cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including a poison ivy-like rash, a severe burning sensation, and swelling. Hypersensitive reactions can include severe swelling, difficulty breathing, and a generalized system reaction.
If you spot any of the following critters, admire from afar; do not pick them up. If you find one of these on your clothing, remove immediately using some kind of barrier such as thick gloves and a towel you can discard.
1. The Saddleback caterpillar is brown in the front and rear, and has a very noticeable green “saddle” on its back, with a purplish-brown spot in the middle. There are prominent horns on the front and rear. Saddlebacks tend to feed on the underside of leaves, and are typically found on oak, cherry, plum, chestnut, and basswood trees. They are sometimes found on corn as well.
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