Move Over Murder Hornets, RVA Has A New Venomous Caterpillar To Worry About

Check Out The Video! Did Someone Lose A Toupee?

October 9, 2020
Wicker and Wilde

It's small, Wicker and Wilde think it looks like a tiny wig and you don't want to get anywhere near it. (see video below)

It is one of the most venomous caterpillars in the US, and the puss caterpillar (Southern Flannel Moth) has been spotted in "parks or near structures" in Richmond and eastern Virginia.

“The Virginia Department of Forestry is warning you to stay away from it. it has venomous spines across its thick, furry coat.”

"a diagnostician at the Insect Identification Lab at Virginia Tech University, told CNN. "It's not going to reach out and bite you, but if someone brushes up against that hair, it'll release toxins that you'll have a reaction to."

You may get an itchy rash, vomit, swollen glands and fever, and according to one RVA resident it felt like “a scorching-hot knife.”

The caterpillar isn't commonly found in the state.

"If someone is susceptible to bee stings, treat it like one," Dellinger told CNN. "Go ahead and seek medical treatment, if you have had bad reactions to other insects in the past."

Dellinger also recommends thoroughly rinsing the area with soap and water, put some ice on it and take an aspirin. If the pain is excruciating, get to the emergency room.

Virginia Tech also recommends using creams and lotions with steroids and quickly applying and removing adhesive tape to the area.

Wicker and Wilde
Wicker and Wilde