Buck moth caterpillars are large, dark-colored caterpillars that can commonly be found in the Greater New Orleans area every year around the springtime and early summer. Some years there are copious amounts of them, while other years yield only a few. Buck moth caterpillars feed on oak trees, so they’re most often found on or near live oak trees. These caterpillars often crawl onto the branches of the oak tree to eat, only to end up falling on or around you, your home, and cars. When you see their chubby bodies covered in soft-looking fuzz, you might be tempted to touch them. However, buck moth caterpillars are NOT safe to touch as they’re one of the few caterpillar species that sting!
Do Buck Moth Caterpillars Sting?
As previously mentioned, buck moth caterpillars do indeed sting. Their bodies are covered in long bristles that only grow and multiply as they mature. Skin contact with one of these bristles will sting you. Some people have worse reactions to these stings than others—while some only experience irritation, others might need medical attention. The toxins within these bristles are what causes the intense itching, stinging, and painful sensation that accompanies these stings, so it’s important that you don’t directly touch them.
If you find that a buck moth caterpillar has crawled onto you, do not use your hand to remove it. Instead, use any stick-like object, such as a twig, pencil, key, etc., and lightly pick up the caterpillar to remove it. If you do get stung, the first thing to do is gently clean the area with soap and water. The next important step is to make sure all the spines are out of the skin. The spines can continue to secrete toxins into the skin and worsen the reaction. Spread a layer of liquid glue, nail polish, or like substance over the area, allow it to dry, then slowly peel it off the skin, which should lift away the bristles with it. Alternatively, you can use tape in a similar fashion. Lastly, you’ll want to apply rubbing alcohol to clean and dry the infected area. You can then add an anti-itch cream to alleviate itching and/or use an ice pack to relieve any pain or swelling.
How To Prevent Buck Moth Caterpillars On Your Property
Buck moth caterpillars are quite easy to accidentally come in contact with. You can unknowingly sit next to one on your patio, or curious small children can get a hold of them. If you live in the Greater New Orleans area where these caterpillars populate, the very best way to prevent having to deal with these small dangers is to make your property an unwelcoming place. The best time to deal with buck moth caterpillars is during the early spring before they hatch! Make sure you don’t miss this window to make your backyard a safe and enjoyable place to swim, barbecue, and laugh with family and friends this summer!
Contact Pied Piper Pest Control!
Pied Piper Pest Control provides pest control services for caterpillars and a wide range of other pests throughout the Greater New Orleans area! If you have any questions about buck moth caterpillars or believe that you may have an infestation around your New Orleans area home or building, contact Pied Piper Pest Control right away! Give us a call today at (504) 366-1333 or fill out the contact form on our website, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!