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Old 09-22-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Default Hickory tussock moth?

I came across a troubling thread in an Ohio sportsmen forum I frequent a gentlemen stated his grandson has become very ill after coming into contact with a hickory tussock moth caterpillar. I did a little digging and it seem that some people can have an allergic reaction to the hairs of the caterpillar. I guess I'm just wondering how common this is? Is it like a bee sting allergy? Also it stated in the other forum that hickory tussocks are not common here in Ohio but have recently moved in from the north and the range descriptions I found on bugguide and a few other sites are pretty non-descriptive. I think the original poster is genuinely concerned about the safety of others I just don't want to comment with out all the facts.

Thanks,
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Really? He must have been playing with it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:34 AM   #3
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Some people... like me.... will be allergic to the terpenes some caterpillars produce from glands. I found out because I had some allergy testing done and had problems with some conifers because of the terpenes and that's when I found out some caterpillars produced em too. I dunno which caterpillars have the glands that produce it though but.... suunto might know. I’m sure the hairs on some caterpillars can cause an allergic reaction in some people…. I’ve picked up wooly bear caterpillars just to move them off firewood and I’ve ended up with hives. If the wooly bear caterpillars can give me hives…. maybe the tussock moths would too…. I dunno. I’ve never let 1 crawl on me and I don’t pick up wooly bears unless I have to. I’m wondering if there’s some sort of a toxin in the hairs of some caterpillars…. maybe there is and it's a defense since they’re such nice juicy protein packs to birds and other critters>>>? Another question for suunto.
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I'm thinking an allergic reaction to a caterpillar's hairs regardless of whether they're "poisonous" or not would be rare but possible. Good old soap and water should go far reducing the symptoms of a contact dermatitis.... at least it does for me. I guess what I'm wondering is did the kid eat the caterpillar and stuff a few of its caterpillar friends down his throat too? Is grandpa telling an untruth.... I dunno but.... there's something telling me there's either more to this story than grandpa knows or he embellished a little here and there as he told it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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I was reading a blog at badgersett and it was saying how bad the IO moth which uses the hazelnut as a host can be.

It's spines are filled with venom and when this cat fell out of the hazelnut it just brushed her arm and she had to go to the doctor.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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One's response to arthropod venom appears more dependent on the peculiarities of individual's immune system than any feature of the venom itself - what causes great misery in one person may be just a minor annoyance to someone else...
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recurve View Post
I did a little digging and it seem that some people can have an allergic reaction to the hairs of the caterpillar. I guess I'm just wondering how common this is? Is it like a bee sting allergy? Also it stated in the other forum that hickory tussocks are not common here in Ohio
Hickory tussock caterpillars are a problem when they reach the 5th instar (last stage before they pupate). They have never caused me a problem but my son had a reaction (red skin) a few years ago. I used duct tape all over his exposed skin to pull the setae out of his skin. He was fine the next day.

My experience is hickory tussock cats are pretty common in Ohio during the late summer/early fall.

This is an article about the problem hickory tussock cats can cause.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprucetree View Post
I was reading a blog at badgersett and it was saying how bad the IO moth which uses the hazelnut as a host can be.

It's spines are filled with venom and when this cat fell out of the hazelnut it just brushed her arm and she had to go to the doctor.
I've raised IOs the last couple years but have been careful enough not to get stung so I cannot share any personal experience.

The people I've talked with who do know from experience compare it with stinging nettles. Stinging nettles nail me multiple times a year and I don't think it is a big deal.

I wonder if she really got nailed by an IO. I could not find a hostplant list for IOs that included hazelnut. YMMV since they are polyphagous. I feed my IOs Japanese maple and you won't find that on most lists. I've tried to get many maple eating species to eat Japanese maple but they all refused. I tried IOs on it only because a friend found IO cats on her Japanese maple.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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It's amazing how species adapt.. That said the woman who had the run-in with the IO moth had it fall on her arm.... The blog didn't say how high or the species of tree it fell out of but it was kind of a warning not to touch the hairy white caterpillar with the red stripe.

I'm not one to even pick off a tomato horn worm. Ever since it emitted it's stink juice.

I'm going to cause any cat I come across as little stress as possible, Normally they can get coaxed on a piece of cardboard.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:20 PM   #9
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I posted last fall about two that a friend found floating on leaves in the Deerfield River here in Massachusetts. I distinctly remember picking them up and placing them on leaves on the shore and had no reaction. This was before I learned what they were and their potential for discomfort. Interestingly, though I seem immune to their hairs, I do have a severe but relatively short lived reaction to Stinging Nettle.

My post from last year if you're interested. They're lovely cats.
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...pa-caryae.html
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