Hello laid-back gardeners. You are probably starting to see caterpillars on your vegetables and ornamentals. I wanted to give you a heads-up on stinging caterpillars. In general, they are fuzzy, and they hide under leaves, in our foliage and can drop down from trees. They are not aggressive unless you touch them with bare skin. Their sting can range anywhere from a burning sensation and itchy rash to intense throbbing or radiating pain and vomiting. So, to stay safe, if it’s fuzzy, don’t touch it! Most of us are familiar with asps, also known as Puss Moth caterpillar (bottom left) and they come in different colors. However, there are a few others: Hickory tussock moth caterpillar (top left), Spiney Oak Slug caterpillar (top right), and saddleback caterpillar (bottom right) to name a few. If stung, use tape to remove any spines. Washing the area with soap and water and applying an ice pack may offer some relief. Symptoms usually go away after an hour. There is little one can do to manage them until they pupate and go away. Identification and awareness is your best weapon. However, if you find yourself with an infestation you can use a product with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensisvar) in it. However, this will also kill ALL good/beneficial caterpillars; think Monarchs, Swallowtails, Gulf fritter, etc. These, any many more, pollinate our garden and help our fruit, vegetables grow and produce seeds So, if you are not sure, if it’s fuzzy don’t touch it!

Let me know what you think at thelaidbackgardenerlauren@gmail.com. TTFN

“I want to be like a caterpillar. Eat a lot. Sleep for a while. Wake up beautiful.” – Lenny Lemons

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