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Puss Caterpillar Outbreak Continues: What You Need to Know

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 09:00 AM CDT

Texas entomologist shares what we need to know about asps and what to do if we are stung

The puss caterpillar, also called an asp, continues sending Central Texans to the emergency room this summer.

Cedar Park Emergency Center reports a spike in the number of patients doctors are seeing due to its toxic sting.

Asps are native to Central Texas and are most prevalent in the Southeast United States, with most of its population found here in Texas. It is one of very few caterpillars that sting as a defense mechanism, but its spines can be excruciating and painful, causing headaches and an upset stomach.

Local entomologist, Mike Quinn, says insects often go through population bursts depending on the weather that year. He says recent rainfall may be to blame and these critters aren't going away anytime soon. The larvae stage lasts for roughly six weeks unlike other caterpillars who have a larvae life of about two weeks. This may be way the possibility for human contact is higher and the risk may continue until early November.

So while they may be furry and cute, be on the lookout and steer clear. And if you are stung, here are some home remedies: rip the spines out with cellophane tape, use a baking soda and water mixture to cut the sting, and follow up with ice. If necessary, don't hesitate to seek medical attention.

By Ashley Roberts

Puss Caterpillar Outbreak Continues: What You Need to Know


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