Saddleback Caterpillar Moth (Acharia stimulea)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Limacodidae
Genus: Acharia (a-KAR-ee-a) (Info)
Species: stimulea
Synonym:Sibine stimulea


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Cragford, Alabama
Foley, Alabama
Gurley, Alabama
Ozark, Alabama
Brookfield, Connecticut
Jewett City, Connecticut (2 reports)
New Fairfield, Connecticut
Orange, Connecticut
Stonington, Connecticut
Bear, Delaware
Hockessin, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Brooker, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Crawfordville, Florida
Deland, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Milton, Florida
Minneola, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Panama City, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Dahlonega, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Duluth, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Fairview Heights, Illinois
Borden, Indiana
Greenville, Indiana
Rockville, Indiana
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bishopville, Maryland
Clarksville, Maryland
Fallston, Maryland
Jefferson, Maryland
Knoxville, Maryland
Millersville, Maryland
Mount Airy, Maryland
Owings Mills, Maryland
Pylesville, Maryland
Sykesville, Maryland
Westminster, Maryland
Carthage, Mississippi
Millville, New Jersey
Sewell, New Jersey
Croton On Hudson, New York
Asheville, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Fairview, North Carolina
Hickory, North Carolina
Horse Shoe, North Carolina
Bellaire, Ohio
Canal Fulton, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Granville, Ohio
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Easton, Pennsylvania
Everett, Pennsylvania
Pequea, Pennsylvania
Pine Grove, Pennsylvania
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Robesonia, Pennsylvania
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Effingham, South Carolina
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Laurens, South Carolina
Manning, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Summerton, South Carolina
Cleveland, Tennessee
Greeneville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Seymour, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Spring, Texas
Annandale, Virginia
Berryville, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Danville, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Marshall, Virginia
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Montross, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Penhook, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Fairmont, West Virginia
Leon, West Virginia
Lost Creek, West Virginia
Wheeling, West Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Mar 13, 2017, wandygirl from Brookfield, CT wrote:

This is the caterpillar of a limacodid moth, or slug moth. It is about 3/4" long in this photo. The bright colors are a warning to predators of its stinging spines. I discovered it while picking blueberries. Even at this small size, it packs a painful sting. Fascinating little creature.


On Dec 30, 2015, brianaucuba from PEQUEA, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

These small caterpillars have a habit of hanging on the underside of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) here. I usually get stung once or twice a season since Spicebush is common on my property and surrounding areas. I haven't noticed excessive plant damage from the caterpillars probably due to so many food sources being available. I cannot fault this insect for doing what is in its nature.


On Aug 25, 2015, mbeh from Sewell, NJ wrote:

I just found this caterpillar moth on my grapefruit tree that I keep on my porch in the summer. I have never seen anything like this before. I am glad I did not touch it after reading about its stinging capability. I live in southern New Jersey. I hope it did not lay eggs. I noticed it because of the leaves falling and it has large (for its size) black poop droppings that were on the ledge of my porch near the plant.


On Sep 9, 2014, socalgirlinthesouth from FORT MILL,
United States wrote:

I brushed up against a gladiolus gardening yesterday and felt an immediate stinging sensation in my arm. I looked down to see that saddleback bugger on the leaf. I did an internet search on him to see what to do..use scotch tape to get out the stinger, wash with soap and water, ice it and change your clothes in case a spine got loose on them. When the pain subsided a bit I put a paste of baking soda and water on it, per some instructions I read. It all seemed to help as the pain went away quickly (about an hour and a half) and I had no other symptoms. It's just a little red and blotchy now (next day). I understand that some folks get nauseous or have breathing difficulty if they are allergic, so go straight to urgent care/ER if this happens to you.
Thanks to all for the comments abo... read more


On Aug 18, 2014, wandygirl from Brookfield, CT wrote:

Found feeding on the underside of blueberry leaves. This is an early or middle instar, only about 1/4" long. Even at this small size its urticating (venomous) hairs delivered a sharp sting which I was able to wash off with soap and water. It can cause a severe reaction in sensitive individuals.


On Aug 30, 2012, SoBelle12 from Ozark, AL wrote:

I discovered three of these caterpillars on my euphorbia (Crown of Thorns) plant today. They are very voracious eaters, and had cleaned off nearly half of the plant in a very short period of time. DO NOT TOUCH THE CATERPILLARS! Several reference websites I visited claimed they are the most toxic caterpillars in the South.


On Aug 14, 2012, frogger123 from NEW FAIRFIELD, CT wrote:

I have never since yesterday seen this bug anywhere!!!
My grandmother was weeding in her hanging geraniums and said she was wondering why they were dying and reached her hand in to grab the weed and all of a sudden started feeling what felt like dozens of little wasp stings on her thumbs and when she pulled her hand out her thumbs were starting to swell so she ran inside and put baking soda on them to stop the pain of the stings. When I came I've she told me to take pictures of them with the camera. When I saw them they camouflaged very well for their bright colors. Later I took a long white laddle and pulled 6 of them off the plant avoiding touching them. Before I knew the proper name I called them porcupine caterpillars, because of the spiky appearance


On Sep 9, 2011, tashi_d from Orange, CT wrote:

I was walking my dog around the pool this afternoon when I encountered this strange looking creature. Thinking back, it was a good thing that Franco didn't sniff it. I scooped him into a cup to take him up to the house where my camera was. The spines and the bright coloration were a tipoff NOT TO TOUCH.
I used a stick to coax him out of the cup for his photo opp. The stick just grazed my arm and man did it sting. I posted the pic on FB and got an almost immediate warning from a friend not to touch-
this is my year for caterpillars-2 weeks ago I found a dead Pandora Sphinx caterpillar in the pool-I've never in my life seen either before...I posted neutral because-this is nature


On Aug 13, 2011, youngstarwalker from Sanford, FL wrote:

I had never encountered one of these caterpillars before but now, sadly, I can say I have.
In the neighborhood I live in the resident's are all very close to each other with yards that butt up against each other. My neighbor's yard has gone wild with a passion flower vine that just won't die. She also has a few trees and shrubs at her fence line and while mowing I brushed against the leaves like I have every other time for years. Today I brushed up against the wrong part I figure.
As I walked away from the leaves and brush I felt a wildly stinging pain in the inside crook of my elbow area. Quickly there was a red irritated spot that soon raised with a few welts. I knew it was a sting of some sort because it felt really close to how a fire ant feels when you get several on you... read more


On Aug 11, 2011, Buddhapotpie from Asheville, NC wrote:

Just got zapped by one in montford (asheville) yesterday. Same story as everyone else: brushed against one on the underside of a leaf. I thought I had hit some nettles for a moment. What a hellacious piece of fish bait this guy would make - if only you could get him on a hook without ruining your own day!


On Sep 10, 2010, talman88 wrote:

My friends and I encountered the saddleback caterpillar the hard way. We were hiking in a densely forested area (of eastern Virginia) and as we walked down a steep hill into a ravine where a beautiful creek flows, the three of us brushed against a small sweet gum tree where the little devil was hanging under a leaf. I was in front and I got it first. He got me on the right side of my stomach, below my belly button, and through my t-shirt! The pain was intense at first, I felt like I had been jabbed by a searing needle. It was more painful than a bee or wasp sting and also more sudden, sharp, and powerful. My friends got hit on the arms below their elbows. Within just those few seconds, we were all clutching our wounds and going into what I describe as 'mild shock.' Soon welts began to app... read more


On Aug 19, 2010, AnnieCo from Horse Shoe, NC wrote:

Last week the girl that helps my Mother got stung by a saddleback caterpillar. She brushed past a small red bud (aka. a Judas Tree) on her way up the garden steps to water some flowers. She found one hidden on the underside of a leaf and killed it.

I returned home to hear about this 'thing' and looked at the place on her arm. We both go over to the small tree and I find at least 4 more of these critters. I go inside and do a search on the computer to find out what the heck it is. I also took a number of photos because they weren't all exactly alike for color or developement. I didn't kill them because I think they're cool looking and I don't have children to worry about. While they have chewed up a number of leaves, those will soon drop for the winter and new ones w... read more


On Aug 14, 2010, Buggedindelaware from Hockessin, DE wrote:

Found this little guy at my childrens' sandbox today. It was being attacked by an assassin bug.

I find the sting stories very disturbing. Tomorrow might require a search through my hydrangea patch. I hate removing bugs, but these just don't sound kid friendly.


On Jul 30, 2010, smorgan865 from Williamsport, PA wrote:

I found came into contact with this bug while picking blueberries tonight. It was on the underside of a leaf and I must have brushed against it while grabbing at the bunch of berries. It was on my finger and immediately brushed it off when I noticed it. Within a few seconds, my finger felt like it was burning. I couldn't see any spines, but it sure felt like there were needles in my finger. Now, several hours later I'm feeling quite nauseated (so much so, I can't sleep). From some of the other things I've read about this bug this feeling can apparently last for a few days; not exactly looking forward to that.


On Oct 8, 2009, danwood from Denham Springs, LA wrote:

October 8, 2009 I came upon this critter in the wrong way. I was working on an air conditioner and I thought I got stung by a bee on the shoulder. I looked for the bees but found none. I went back to work and felt another sting on my elbow. There is an elephant ear plant next to the outdoor unit and low and behold the critter was on the bottom side of the leaf. I took a picture of it to see what it was. Found it through the search engine and ended up here. It was irritating stings. My arm swelled up and my arm went tingling and numb and so did one side of my face. I still feel like I am messed up even after 6 hours. Nausea also set in. Pain at the sting is very uncomfortable. Going to take benadryl now since I am home and see if it goes away. Not a nice little critter.


On Sep 21, 2009, darnvarmints from Canal Fulton, OH wrote:

we live in Canal Fulton Ohio & are real OUTDOORZE people-we have seen alot-(deer,red tailed hawks,raccoon,coyote, & wild turkey right in our own backyard-BUT this little guy had us stumped-When I found him at the edge of the woods & brought him home my boyfriend thought I was Krazi when I said I found a catapillar w/ a coat & sunglasses....but we kept him in a jar & fed him the leaves from the tree we found him only to find out that his sunglasses were on his butt-he poops alot but we have chickens & ducks (used to it ha ha ) NOW that we have shared him with the neighbor kids & got pics we can put him back where he belongs-DAVES GARDEN ROCKS


On Sep 18, 2009, afranke3 from Jewett City, CT wrote:

Living in CT, there are several different varieties of bugs. Today, I was giving my dog a bath in the freezing cold water from my well. Yes, I know it is not nice but he decided to roll in deer poop. Anyway, when I was finished with the hose I went to turn it off and thought I was stung by a bee. However, it was not that painful at first, so I figured I was pricked by my pricker bush. I turned around to do something and felt the sting getting worse and worse. I thought now it was a bee, so my first instinct was to go inside and take some benedryl. Then, just out of curiousity, I went outside to the bush and saw it. I went inside and googled it, came to this website and realized that is what stung me. The sting was so strange. It was as though I could feel the sting going through my bloodst... read more


On Sep 13, 2009, cafunk from Borden, IN wrote:

My daughter came to me yesterday yelling, "I got bit by a spider"! So I said "where is it"? She showed me and I thought, That is no spider! Should I take her to the emergency care, was what I was thinking. I went to the nurse neighbor and she said my daughter would be fine. Which she is, now. Some ice and benedryl cream did the trick. I didn't know about the tape to pull out the left behind stuff. But we learned something new.


On Sep 7, 2009, edowd from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I'll add some tips for those who are checking this blog because they just got stung.

I relocated one by carrying off the leaf it was gnawing, but today, in an attempt to similarly relocate 2 more, I brushed my forearm against a hidden 3rd. They love to hang out on the bottom sides of large leaves - you won't know they're there until you're stung!

My advice? Immediately spray the affected area with your garden hose. Head inside and wipe with Witch Hazel, then apply an ICE PACK. THis is key. It was my first instinct, and then someone on this blog mentioned it, too. It really does work.

Keep the ice pack on for as long as you can - all day if you have back-up ice packs. If not, go for a swim in a chlorine pool. The water takes all pain ... read more


On Sep 3, 2009, holly_grower from Bear, DE wrote:

I'll give this one a cautiously positive rating just because it's such a beautiful and distinctive insect. I see them in late summer, eating gladiolus leaves and, just today, English holly leaves. Oftentimes, you will find the caterpillars covered in the cocoons of parasitic Braconid wasps (much like tomato hornworm larvae). You have to admire this species' ability to feed on such a wide variety of plants. Fortunately, I have never encountered them in such numbers as to be really damaging to my plants. Anyway, I give them a wide berth whenever I find them. And of course, if I ever get stung, I might reconsider my rating!

Note added 9/24/10 - well, after fifty years of playing around in the garden, it finally happened. I just got stung on the thumb by one hiding on the... read more


On Sep 1, 2009, cmsjjdr from Panama City, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I found one of these on my plum tree a week ago. I am very lucky that I did not find it like some of you and did not attempt to touch it since I know some caterpillars can sting. I will have to watch closely when working in the yard now as I am sure there are more out there.


On Aug 31, 2009, RockyAcresRanch from Pierce City, MO wrote:

PICTURES OF THE MOTH can be found at the following website:


On Aug 28, 2009, lisette30 from Cuernavaca,
Mexico wrote:

I am an American living in beautiful Cuernavaca, Mexico. I have hundreds of different plants in my garden and three different types of palms. Yesterday as I was walking off my porch, the underside of my forearm brushed against a palm frond. I IMMEDIATELY cursed, but kept walking to the front gate to unlock the front gate to let my student out thinking I had been stung by a wasp or hornet. When I got back, I checked out the palm and couldn't BELIEVE the beautiful caterpillar on the underside of the palm leaf. (Saddleback caterpillar) My whole ARM was burning like FIRE. I got dizzy and went and laid down and later developed a horrible headache and rash that I STILL have one day later on August 28th, 2009. HOWEVER, I am writing a POSITIVE comment because even though they hurt SO much,... read more


On Aug 27, 2009, Aranelinya wrote:

This little beggar is definitely a menace. I just now joined because I have never seen one before and wanted to know what it is that stung me about 15 minutes ago.

It took me a while to find the acutual sting site as my hand was hanging down when I was stung. The venom rushed to and was first felt in the back of my hand so I thought that was the site of the sting. It was actually my wrist.

The sting causes a nasty burning sensation like a jelly fish and I now have cold chills, a fine sweat, nausea and a headache from hell. I am allergic to Hymenoptera stings and so will be watching closely to determine if a emergency room trip is in order.

The caterpillar has been humanely relocated OFF my property.

Why this typically ... read more


On Aug 26, 2009, badgersmoon from Clarksville, MD wrote:

I'm in Clarksville, Md. Brushed one of these while I was picking tomatos, extremely painful, like hundred of needles poking me at once. Took a while to find him but he was under a leaf. I took a benedryl and washed and peroxided, Just minor tingling now, (couple of hours). I moved him and his leaf to another area. I have a blanket 'let live' policy and go to great efforts to avoid killing anything. I just hope I don't run into him again.


On Aug 15, 2009, Tntigger from Greeneville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

These are the nastiest caterpillars around! I got stung on the arm by 2 when my arm brushed our purpleleaf redbud tree. The pain shoots up and down the whole arm, but the pain and swelling of the arm subsided in 24 hours. Ice helps the pain some. I read to take sticky tape to the sore to remove the needles if any are left on your skin but not sure if it worked.


On Sep 29, 2008, workstogarden from Spartanburg, SC wrote:

These guys hurt! I wear garden gloves but brushed my forearm against one and had no idea what was causing such a sting. When I searched in my debris pail, I saw a couple on the weeds I was pulling. Began keeping an eye out and found them on iris and crocosmia as well. The stinging and redness lasted about an hour for me but a friend of mine has very visible "scars" (don't know how long they will last) from coming into contact with one last week. From my research on the internet it appears they can actually cause some people to be quite ill. Seem to be out and about in late summer. Beware!


On Sep 20, 2008, lkiang from Athens, GA wrote:

I was doing a bug collection when I my dad saw a weird caterpillar on the driveway.
He told me to come look at it to see if I wanted it for my collection. I saw it's bright colors and assumed it was probably poisonous to I got a jar and scraped it up and closed the lid. Later I found out it was a saddle back caterpillar and it was poisonus on the web. I'm glad I didn't touch it! :)


On Sep 12, 2008, princess102506 from Bellaire, OH wrote:

This is a very different creature... it was found in the local park on a peice of bark that was laying on the ground. it has not "stung" anyone...but was observed because of its unique color, and my son said it looks like a dragon.....


On Sep 4, 2008, asturnut from Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b) wrote:

I brushed up against a Saddleback Caterpillar while I was working in my garden. He was hanging on the underside of a Rose of Sharon plant, so I didn't see him. One minute I was weeding, the next minute my arm was on fire. The pain totally took me by surprise. I ran in the house, thinking I was stung by a bee and ran it under cold water. I have very sensitive skin and have pretty bad reaction to bug bites and stings. This was no exception. Within minutes, I was nauseous and woozy, had the chills and a bit of chest pain. The pain in my arm and the nausea lasted a couple hours. I took a benadryl and put benadryl cream on it. My arm bothered me for a couple days, and my skin looked minorly irritated. The initial shock of the pain was really intense. I hope I NEVER have an encount... read more


On Sep 2, 2008, player123 from Carthage, MS wrote:

This is the coolest saddleback moth I have ever seen.


On Aug 30, 2008, joycehome from Easton, PA wrote:

I encountered this horrible little creature today on a poplar tree in my yard. I was wondering why it was losing all its leaves, and upon closer inspection I noticed a leaf that I thought was curling up. I reached out my hand to pluck the leaf - OUCH - and I barely touched it. I thought at first I had gotten a thorn and then I realized there was a vile little catepillar wrapped up in a leaf... in fact there are at least 4 of them on the tree I was looking at. I ran inside and soaked my hand in epsom salts for a while - it feels a whole lot better but it still stings. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what this creature was, but after seeing the photos on a couple websites I now know the culprit and what it is capable of. BEWARE of this catepillar - avoid touching at all cos... read more


On Aug 29, 2008, SHAWNROTH23 from Deltona, FL wrote:

watch out for these little one with one hell of a punch
trimming up plam trees when i brushed up against one of them and wham got hit.the first 10 minn it was the worst so far been about a hour now. swollen my hand to about 2 times the normal someone else to trim any plants that the saddleback live on.they say to run water on the area were it stung you but do not do that made it worse.


On Aug 25, 2008, QAO from Alexandria, VA wrote:

I'm giving these guys a positive for their beauty, and well.. they've got pretty good self defense!

I got zapped three times yesterday.. twice while deadheading gladiolas, and once on the top of my foot, pulling morning glory vines off my tree peonies. the first two times were on my knuckle and soft part of my forearm.

At first I thought I had rubbed my knuckle on one of my big grasses, which can be really irritating, but the pain was intense.. then when I got it a second time, I started looking around, and found two of the little buggars. I did not find the one that stung the top of my foot though.

I am an avid gardener, as well as having a degree in entomology, and I have never encountered one of these (let alone 3) before.

... read more


On Aug 24, 2008, lisamaria from Knoxville, TN wrote:

I was weeding my Iris plant and I brushed my arm against this Hell Fire burning pest! I cut the leaf he was on and looked him up. Not knowing if he was posinous or not but the sting was awful .It radiated down my entire arm and my vains got swollen the skin was red and it felt like the briers were still in my skin. I washed it with alcahol that helped then I put liquid benydryl on it and the burning stopped.No other symptoms yet,But BE AWARE OF THIS CATERPILLAR, I live in Knoxville Tennessee and it is here!!


On Aug 21, 2008, lauriepa1965 from Pine Grove, PA wrote:

My son was at our home one day by himself.He took the trash out and saw this unusual caterpillar.Not even thinking it might sting he touched it.He experienced the burning, stinging sensation associated with the saddleback caterpillar.I had never seen a caterpillar like that before.I am a gardner and a biologist and we were always required to "volunteer" our time in the yard when we were kids.It really is beautiful. There are about 7 on our one shrub.There were remarks I read that it is found in corn stalks.We live amid many corn fields for many years and this the first I have ever seen this species.I am going to put it in a bug terrerium to see it morph.I'm curious about what the moth looks like.I guess you live and you learn.Isn't nature spectacular!


On Aug 21, 2008, suscwbuff from Robesonia, PA wrote:

I had my first encounter with this caterpillar tonight. I was cutting some branches on my false indigo and felt stinging on both hands AND I had thin gloves on. I tried to figure out what the heck was happening and spotted 3 of these thorny caterpillars. Since I had no idea what it was I treated it as a bee sting, washing and scrubbing the area with soap. I also took a benadryl. My biologist cousin came over and helped me identify it. I don't usually kill caterpillars in the garden but this is one that will be disposed of when I see one. I've been stung before but it never felt like this. Beware of the saddleback caterpillar!


On Aug 15, 2008, Mr_RedBud from Summerton, SC wrote:

OUCH!!! i just found one of these guys the hard way! Yes they do sting an yes it hurts,lol i was pruning a crepe mrytle an bumped him with my elbow an it felt like a fire ant an a wasp stung me at the same time? i lifted up the branch to see what it was an(hello).there he was,chillin. OUCH!!!


On Feb 15, 2008, galsalgardens from Jewett City, CT wrote:

The first time I saw one of these caterpillars, I was at an herb nursery in the southeastern part of Connecticut in Salem. One of the employees had been unwittingly stung while moving a plant. She showed it to me in a jar. The second time I came across one, literally, while weeding a client's bed in Stonington, CT. It felt like the sting of a wasp, left a good size rash, and did not go away for a couple days, even after washing several times with special rash cleanser. I see there are a couple different color combos, the two I saw here in CT. were the bright green. It's definitely becoming warmer by the shore year after year, I wonder if they are moving North? In my entomology class at UCONN's master gardener program, the teacher had no idea what I was referring to when I said "toxic cate... read more


On Nov 18, 2007, Pughbear7 from Tulsa, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

These cute scotty dog looking devils are not to be played with.
I ran across this little monster in south florida, where I ran a 10 acre nursery. I have had the unpleasant contact twice. both times resulted in trips to the emergency room. I guess it was a good idea because once the doctors got wind of what had hit me they had me in a room pumped with benadrill and steriod shot. I was told they can cause heart issues as well as just unpleasant pain.
They love Lady palms - Raphis spp. Even though I knew they loved the plant and pop up from time to time They still managed to get a few born before I was able to get them sprayed. I would love to know what the moth looks like. anyone out there please send me a pic, it would greatly be apreciated. Dave


On Sep 11, 2007, pyramids54 from Fairview, NC wrote:

Hi! This is a wicked little creature! This past weekend, I was weeding a really large flowerbed with all types of bushes, flowers, and generally everything in it. When I went to readjust my stance, I felt like I'd been stung by a bee ... when I wheeled around to look for the bee, it got me again. I happened to look down and saw the little monster. This wasn't even like any beesting I'd ever had ... it hurt SO bad. I immediately took a cold bath and the cold relieved the pain. Afterwards, I put campho-phenique (one of my dad's old remedies for stings) on it and it helped. Later that night, it started stinging again as if it were a fresh sting all over again! PLEASE BEWARE OF THESE THINGS ... ANOTHER ONE STUNG MY SON THE VERY SAME DAY!


On Sep 23, 2006, mygardens from Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Found this bug on my Meyer lemon leaf in September 2006. Also saw references to this bug that called it a Sibine Stimulea and a Stinging Hair Caterpillar. Glad I didn't touch it.


On Sep 19, 2006, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

Must be The year for these in MD. Found one today, Mine was eating my amaryllis. That was a pretty nasty sting, but since then I have washed hands and showered, and all effects are gone.


On Sep 13, 2006, barbed from Sykesville, MD wrote:

Ouch! It's a shame you only find this information after the fact, but I'm here with an arm that's numb and tingling after coming in contact with this little bugger. At first I thought it was the plant until I felt the burning all over that area of my forearm and then I saw the welt. That's when I found it. I was digging up a banana plant to prepare it for the winter and I obviously came in contact. It was on the underside of the leaf and I had no idea until it was too late.

The first thing I did was wash the spot with peroxide and then soap & water. I put a hydrocortisone cream on the welt since I didn't have any benadryl creme. Another piece of advice stated to use an ice pack for the swelling. It's been about an hour now and my arm is still a bit numb but the redn... read more


On Sep 8, 2006, scarface from Hickory, NC wrote:

These little guys can sure surprise you. I was picking some weeds out of my flower beds a few years back and brushed the back of my hand on one who was hidden on the underside of a leaf. Nasty sting. Felt like liquid fire in my veins. Recently found another eating up my ivy so I decided to set up a habitat for him and observe him a bit. Put the whole branch he was on inside. Was not even risking a slight touch. Stinging little guy or not, I love his colors and how he seems to have an old fashioned walrus mustache. I am curious as to whether they do turn into a moth. Everytime I see a mention of Saddleback caterpillar moth on the net, it ends up just being a pic of the caterpillar, no moth.


On Sep 1, 2006, Miss_Huff from Flemington, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I live in North Carolina Zone 7. I was living a wooded area when I first encountered one. Saddlebacks most likely
have a solid place in the ecosystem, but they are not pleasant to encounter
if they sting you. So don't go out and kill them. Just remove them from your garden. Here's what happened to me. I was picking hydrangeas. I was holding several stems and carried them to my kitchen sink, to make a bouquet. I was in the process of washing them and the back of my hand started to hurt, to really sting. I couldn't figure out why. Thinking it might
be a bee sting, my husband looked through the foliage and found the saddleback underneath a leaf. I treated it as I would a bee sting- with wet baking soda- but the redness and pain continued for a week.

As a r... read more


On Aug 31, 2006, rb250 from Danville, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

kenmote is right , just this past w/e i was taking out the trash when i reached under my potted palm plant for one of the bags, and zap. It felt like a wasp had got me on the back of my bicep. after looking down at the palm, heck half of a 20" branch was half gone. I looked under the branch or fan leaf and there was about 5 of these fellows under there. Me, not knowing the out come, i kind of flicked two of them off the plant. The 2nd one got me again on my index finger when I flicked if off the leaf. I've got two of them in a little insect box now, just want see what they turn into. DO NOT TOUCH. the pain will run all the way down to your hand, and I'm talking for hours. BEWARE OF THE DREADED SADDLEBACK CATERPILLAR MOTH. True story but still kind of funny. Mike


On Aug 29, 2006, kenrnoto from Westminster, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:


Your young ones may be drawn to their bright colors and unusual markings so warn them to never, ever, touch hairy caterpillars.

I had never encountered these caterpillars before today. On my patio I had a Carolina Silverbells shrub growing in a gallon pot. Two days ago the shrub looked fine. When I went out to check it this morning just about all the leaves were gone and there were little caterpillar pellets on the ground. So I searched the plant and pot and found 7 of these strange looking caterpillars.

They really looked weird! That leafy green around their middle looked like they had taken part of a leaf and folded it around t... read more