Be sure when you are out and about on your travels this fall that you and your children are careful not to touch the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillars.
This cute and fluffy caterpillar is seen often in Southwestern Ontario. Last October, I saw one crawling along the and at the beach, quite a distance from the trees. This fluffy whitish grey caterpillar has a black stripe down it’s back with two longer tufts at both the front and back of the caterpillar. These black tufts of hair are connected to poisonous glands that secrete a toxic venom. The reaction to this venom is similar to poison ivy but can be more serious and cause more pain in rashes, swelling that could lead to vomiting. Some people could be allergic.
Anyone who comes into contact with this caterpillar should wash thorughly with warm soapy water. Calamine lotion and antihistamines may help.
The Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar is present in Southern Ontario from July to September, at which time it feeds on the leaves of hickory, walnut, ash, elm and oak trees in preparation for overwintering in its cocoon. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4.5 centimeters.
For more details check out here Middlesex London Health Unit