Look But Don’t Touch — This KY Creepy-Crawly Packs a Venomous Punch
In each of the last two years, I've made unfortunate contact with nature, but the "unfortunate" part didn't last very long.
Early in the summer of 2022, I believe I was bitten by a wolf spider. It itched and resembled a mosquito bite, but the red mark has yet to completely go away. Because it never hurt or necrotized, I just assumed it wasn't a brown recluse; we've had those in the house, too.
And back in the spring, a wasp got in the house, and my attempt to destroy it didn't come without "injury." Yep, the little sucker got me on the hand. But by the next morning, however, the pain, the red mark, and the swelling were gone. Not bad.
There Are Some Weird (and Venomous) Creatures in Kentucky
In other words, I'm USED to the creatures we ALL know can sting or bite. I have ZERO use for surprises. And by that I mean, I don't need insects I assumed were harmless NOT being totally harmless. I'm looking at you hag moth/monkey slug caterpillar.
It kind of moves like a starfish swims and it doesn't look a THING like any caterpillar I've ever seen, but that's what it is. And yes, it goes by two names, and I can't decide which I like more. Here's what one looks like when it sheds. (TBH, it doesn't look much different after the fact.)
Treating the Sting of a Hag Moth/Monkey Slug Caterpillar
Now, I'm not sure if you'd be inclined to try to pick one up if you saw it, but I'd advise against it. Those hairs are a venomous defense mechanism and you will feel that sting. As for how to treat it? Well, that's familiar territory, according to plantcaretoday.com:
When “stung” by a monkey slug, the treatment is the same as with bee stings. Sometimes, hairs break off and get stuck in the skin, which you can remove using tape or tweezers. Wash the affected skin immediately, and put an ice pack on it to help prevent swelling. Call your doctor if you have any symptoms of a histamine reaction.
Since these things are problems for trees and gardens, you may have already taken care of them when planting season began. If not, I recommend BRUSHING them away; nobody likes ugly surprises from ugly insects.