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'You know it as soon as you get hit': What you need to know about Saddleback Caterpillars

Saddleback Caterpillar (Credit: Joann Snow/ChimeIn)
Saddleback Caterpillar (Credit: Joann Snow/ChimeIn)
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Some folks have been seeing these spiky caterpillars in the area.

They're called Saddleback Caterpillars.

Saddleback Caterpillars have spines that stick out of them that contain venom. When they sting you, some say the pain is comparable to a jellyfish sting.

"You know it as soon as you get hit. It's almost akin to getting hit by a jellyfish," said Extension Agent Bonnie Tillotson with Virginia Tech.

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She said it can be difficult to steer clear of them because they're usually less than an inch in size. They're also not just found on one type of plant.

"They've been reported to feed on 40 different plant families, so it's a wide variety and because they're small they're easy to miss," she shared.

If you do get stung, there are some things to know.

Tillotson told WSET that their spines are so fine, that you need to remove them from your skin using tape.

To help with the sting, Tillotson suggested vinegar or ammonia to neutralize it.

She also mentioned that everyone reacts differently, much like in bee stings, so keep an eye on it to make sure the reaction doesn't become severe.

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