Lophocampa caryae, Hickory Tussock Moth, White Wooly Bear Caterpillar…Look but do not touch!

August 20, 2012

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The arrival of Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillars in our backyard is a signal of summer nearing it’s end as they become pretty active this time of year, feeding on the leaves of our white walnut tree. Their tufts of soft-looking, hairlike setae might encourage you or your children to want to touch them but resist the urge! These hairs have microscopic barbs that if they come in contact with your skin can cause a mild to severe allergic reaction. Yikes. I’m so glad that when I was taking photos of this one yesterday I heeded my Inner Girl Scout’s warning to look but do not touch.

    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    jessica August 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I heard that some cats are toxic to human if we picked them up when I was a kid and I believed them but a few months ago I didn’t think that was true, I was just thinking my neighbor was just trying to scare me until you said that.. He must have cared about me lolol :)


    jessica August 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

    That is a beautiful cat I am looking up to see what it turns into :D


    Hedgerow Rose August 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I would never have thought they would cause reactions, either. Definitely a surprise to me, too. When I found out, my husband said “You’d better put that on your blog!” just to be safe and possibly warn others. By the way, it does turn into a pretty moth. Did you find the picture?


    jessica August 22, 2012 at 8:11 am
    Hedgerow Rose August 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Great! Thank you for sharing that link with us!


    Beca Lewis August 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I didn’t know that! Thanks for the alert!


    Lisa July 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Your photos and information are excellent! I had both types of Hummingbird moths at my Butterfly bush these last few days. But I did not know they were different! One of my friends and neighbor, that is also a bird and now a Moth watcher, was totally psyched to try to capture a photo of one of the moths.

    In one day, he was able to see and photograph both of the two types of hummingbird moths. It really was a thrill!


    Hedgerow Rose July 24, 2013 at 9:01 am

    How wonderful! Thank you for visiting! :)


    Rebekah Bryant June 21, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Do they jump? It looked to me like the one I just saw jumped backwards,and it was crawling backwards too


    Hedgerow Rose June 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Good question! I have never seen that before, but maybe!


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