Beware of stinging Buckmoth caterpillars in New Orleans. Friends and neighbors have warned us to look out for these caterpillars on sidewalks. They said the caterpillars fall from trees, especially oaks, and are easy to step on if you are barefoot.
The Buckmoth caterpillars sting people and animals.
If you get stung …
If you get stung, use tape to pull out the stinger, says a rep from the Audobon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. He also told WWL TV you can treat a sting with baking soda and/or Benadryl. Click here to watch the video clip.
A columnist on NOLA.com says stung animal paws can be treated with an ice pack (more pet treatment info).
More info from NOLA.com:
The caterpillar’s spines are hollow and are connected to poison glands. Contact with the spines can cause a burning sensation and inflammation as painful as a bee sting. The irritation can last several days and can be accompanied by nausea.
To treat the stings, remove the spines by placing a strip of adhesive tape over the affected area and stripping it off repeatedly. An ice pack can reduce the stinging sensation, and the area also can be treated with a paste of baking soda and water. Some individuals with a history of hay fever, asthma or other allergies may be more susceptible to the sting and should contact a physician.
While the caterpillars tend to congregate mostly in oaks, they’ve also been found in willows, wild cherry and other deciduous plants.
Stop the problem before it starts. Parkway Partnership will treat your trees for Buckmoth caterpillars (more).