Stinging caterpillars are coming back around in south Louisiana; here’s how to treat a sting

Louisiana

(WAFB) – The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center is recirculating its advice for treating stings from caterpillars as those that become buck moths become more active.

LSU AgCenter forestry entomologist Tim Schowalter said these caterpillars are covered in hollow spines attached to a venom gland.

Venom can cause symptoms ranging from itching and burning sensations to nausea, Schowalter said.

Schowalter’s first aid recommendations for stings included:

  • Placing tape over the stung area and carefully peeling it away to remove any spine tips.
  • Taking liquid Benadryl to alleviate any allergic reaction; if swelling or difficulty breathing occurs, go immediately to an emergency room.
  • Using Aspirin or other pain relievers can reduce pain.
  • Using meat tenderizer, calamine lotion, aloe or other favorite sting remedies can help reduce the duration of pain.

Schowalter said most people come into contact with the caterpillars by stepping on them on the ground or by brushing against them on walls or shrubs as the creatures descend to the ground to pupate.

For cities such as Baton Rouge or New Orleans where live oak trees, the trees in which the insects are commonly found, line city streets, the caterpillars can become a significant nuisance for people, Schowalter said.

The caterpillars will be active through May.

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