Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Do not touch the saddleback caterpillar

Yesterday, I was doing a little weeding in my mulched area and saw this critter on a leaf of my Oriental persimmon.  (It was on death row, having its last meal.)
These caterpillars can give you a very serious sting with their venomous spines.  If you see one, make sure you instruct any kids around that it is a very dangerous caterpillar.  With my gardening gloves on, I carefully removed the leaf with the caterpillar still on it, and crushed the caterpillar on the ground with a small garden tool.  I covered the smashed caterpillar with dirt because I had read that the spines can cause contact dermatitis even if they aren't attached to the caterpillar.
Apparently the treatment protocol for a saddleback caterpillar sting is to use cellophane tape to remove any spines; ice pack; then baking soda paste.  See a doctor if allergic reaction occurs.
(Now, I will mention that I used meat tenderizer once when I got stung by some sort of stinging worm.  I did get remarkable pain relief, but I've noticed that meat tenderizer is not a recommended protocol because it supposedly can damage skin tissues.)
Watch out for stinging insects, especially this time of year!


  1. Thanks for the warning, I don't think I have ever seen one of these. It is something I would pick up to show the grand kids. NOW I KNOW!
    It is an interesting little guy. Good advice I am SURE!

  2. I've never seen one of those, but we have a bunch of other stinging and biting critters here.