Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: lee32768 On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:46 am

The third picture down in Mozz's post (http://nepacrossroads.com/about17324.html) is the HIckory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

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They secrete and acid/poison from their feet that some people have very bad allergic reactions to.

As a young chap of 17, I was mowing lawn for a living in a willow grove when one, apparently, fell on me. I was wearing an old button up shirt, half unbuttoned at the top, and when I noticed the little guy he was on my chest. I flicked him off, kept mowing, until my throat started to feel funny. I looked down and my chest was fire read and swollen. With no benadryl on me I rushed home and popped 2 busted open under my tongue so they'd go right to the blood steam (I have a bee allergy, so this was standard procedure). No good - too much caterpillar, or too much time - my throat was swelling shut - I couldn't swallow and it was getting hard to breathe. My mother called 9-1-1 and I took a ride in the ambluance with an oxygen tube shoved down my restricted air way. They injected me with some "super benadryl" and I slept for 8 hours in the middle of the day!

You can imagine my delight, years later, when I come home from work to my 3 year old boy who is holding one of these in his hands. "Daddy, daddy, look what I found!". I smacked it out of his hands and ground it into the concrete sidewalk. He was devistated! I dropped my stuff and marched him in the house - stripped him down - and started washing him off in our downstairs bath. He was screaming profusely from this treatment and my wife - who had not know of the circumstances came running in to see here husband still dressed nice for work scrubbing a kid down at 5:30pm in the afternoon. I had her get a double dose of childrens benadryl out for him and of course he screamed for all of that! In the end - his one leg swelled up almost 50% over it's normal size for several hours, and he had "scratch" marks (where the caterpillars feet walked) all up and down his arms.

Now bad genetics may make us the exception to rule here - as I know several people who can pick these up and hold them with no problems - but I would at least advise extreme caution.

The HIckory Tussock Moth Caterpillar is not welcome on my property. We have a bounty on it's head (or tail or abdomen or what ever caterpillars have!) - they are to be shot on site!

Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line Pocono / EFM520

Re: Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: SMITTY On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:33 pm

So that's what those are! Thanks for posting. Never saw one before in my life until a couple years ago -- now we have them everywhere.

I thought their "spines" or hairs were poisonous, so I let it crawl onto my hand to take this pic, trying to avoid touching them. I guess I'm not allergic to them ... :shock:
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: samhill On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:56 pm

All the caterpillars must be frozen here, haven`t seen any for months.
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: koker 160/ hitzer 75

Re: Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:06 pm

Hmmmm.. the whole side of face swelled up for a day for no apparent reason this past summer. I believe I remember seeing one of those caterpillars around here....
Richard S.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: mozz On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:37 pm

Thanks for the info on that. I don't quite remember if i let that sucker crawl all over me or not. I do remember they were all over the yard here for a month or 2. I'll have to watch out next summer.
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Look Out! - For the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

PostBy: stovepipemike On: Tue May 10, 2011 7:44 am

Thanks for posting the picture with the story. Your experience could well have saved your boy. I have seen one like that last summer and like all curious folks I watched it for a while but did not handle it.Glad I didn't touch that one but I will be sure to "touch"any future ones with the part of by work boots that says Vibram. Mike
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KAA-2