The asp caterpillar is considered to be the most dangerous caterpillar in the United States. Their bodies are completely covered with long brown hair. However, hidden among the hair are short, poisonous spines. The head and legs are not visible, so it looks like a thin pile of brown fur.
While this time of year is when we would see these caterpillars, Houston is expected to see a lot more than normal due to Hurricane Harvey. These caterpillars have nested underground and ended up staying nested for much longer because of the flooding; this has extended their breeding season.
Symptoms of Asp Caterpillar Stings
It can be easy to determine if you have been stung by an asp caterpillar. It has been described as staggering and intense with some comparing it to the feeling of a broken bone. Accompanying the intense pain will be a bright redness in the area. The pain will continue to intensify, so getting to a doctor or urgent care clinic quickly is a smart decision.
How to Avoid Asp Caterpillars
When looking to avoid running into an asp caterpillar, try to avoid rose bushes and ivy and oak trees, since they prefer these spots. Certain parks have gone as far as putting up signs with pictures of the caterpillar to alert those that are in the area of their danger. Since the caterpillar looks so cute and soft, there is a risk of children wanting to touch it or play with it.
If stung, the most important first step is checking to make sure that none of the caterpillar’s spines are still attached to you. They will resemble tiny hairs and could be hard to see. A cold compress is also recommended in hopes of fighting any swelling. If the pain is too severe, call your doctor or head into a local clinic to have a professional take a look at it.