Look out for these hairy caterpillars in Florida. Here’s why

Contact with the caterpillar can lead to a rash

The Florida Department of Health issued an alert for hairy caterpillars. Health officials said the Orgyia leucostigma is also known as the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar. The caterpillar is common in Florida, according to DOH.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health issued an alert for hairy caterpillars.

Health officials said the Orgyia leucostigma is also known as the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.

The caterpillar is common in Florida, according to DOH.

Seminole County Public Schools made a post on Twitter to make parents aware that the caterpillars could leave behind a stinging rash.

Health officials said the bug’s hairs or cocoon can cause an allergic reaction that could lead to an itchy rash.

The DOH said in the past, the rash outbreaks have happened in schools, day care facilities and playgrounds.

The DOH listed tips for parents if a child comes in contact with one of these caterpillars:

  • Remove the bug from the skin without using bare hands
  • Place any kind of tape on the exposed area
  • Pull up the tape to remove any hairs or spines
  • Repeat this series of steps with fresh pieces of tapes as often as needed
  • Wash the area gently with soap and water
  • Apply an ice pack to reduce stinging and apply a paste of baking soda and water to reduce itchiness
  • If a rash does not go away, DOH said it is best to call a healthcare provider

Anyone with questions about the caterpillar-associated rashes can contact the DOH at 407-665-3243.


About the Author:

Jon is a Web Producer for ClickOrlando and has been with News 6 since March 2019.