University of Florida

Stinging Caterpillars

Florida has a number of stinging caterpillars, and they can be a pain in the neck—or other body part!

Many of them are brightly colored, and most look hairy or fuzzy. These caterpillars don't have stingers, but instead have spines along their bodies that are connected to poison glands.

Some people experience severe reactions to the poison released by the spines and require medical attention, while others experience only an itching or burning sensation.

If you're stung by a poisonous caterpillar, place Scotch tape over the affected area and strip it off repeatedly to remove the spines. Apply ice packs to reduce the stinging sensation, and then a paste of baking soda and water. If you seem to be developing an allergic reaction, contact a physician immediately.

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