According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, puss caterpillars have been spotted in Okaloosa County. These small stinging insects will cause intense pain if touched by humans, but are often not fatally poisonous. According to WFLA, “Under all that fur on the puss caterpillar are venomous bristles that break off into the skin when touched by humans and cause serious pain. This caterpillar is the most poisonous in the country, and makes its home in several different kinds of trees found in Florida, such as elm, oak and sycamore.” Their venom feels similar to that of a wasp or hornet sting.
We advise you to inform your children about puss caterpillars, and teach them not to touch the animals. These caterpillars have been known to be found from New Jersey down to Florida, and over to Texas, but are predominantly found in Florida. Several sightings have occurred in Okaloosa County, so these pests are indeed found in the local area.
Depending on the person, the reaction could be anything from an annoying itching sensation to a serious reaction requiring medical care. It’s possible that the caterpillar’s sting could be worse than that of a scorpion, jellyfish, or bee when it comes to pain. If you’re stung by one of these little critters, cover the skin with scotch tape to pull out the spines, unless the reaction is bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. Ice can help soothe the area and reduce swelling and stinging. Afterward, a paste of baking soda and water over the area will help.
If you happen to spot any puss caterpillars on your property in Crestview, Destin, or Niceville, FL, please notify a pest control professional immediately. These pests pose a threat to children, pets, and even adults. We will provide you with a free estimate or call us at 850-682-5354 to control any puss caterpillars that you may have, and prevent their future offspring from growing up in your yard.