5 Symptoms of Puss Moth Caterpillar Sting and the Best Treatments

August 3, 2018 | Caterpillar

The puss moth caterpillar is definitely a caterpillar that you’ll want to stay away from. In North America, this caterpillar contains the most toxins and it is worse than any other caterpillar in the region. You will mostly find them in the southern states of the country, especially in tropical states like Florida. They are easy caterpillars to recognize because they are shaped like a teardrop and have silky hairs that are long. This kind of makes them look like bunched up fur or cotton.

Puss moth caterpillars like to hang around shaded areas like shrubs and trees. If you have vegetation like this around your school or home, then be wary of these caterpillars. Children might find them and want to grab them because they look so cute. But if their skin touches the hairs of these caterpillars, it will cause venom to get onto them. This will cause a lot of nasty and painful symptoms that no one should have to experience.

Top 5 Symptoms of Puss Moth Caterpillar Sting

If you or someone around you has touched a puss moth caterpillar, then you will notice some very apparent symptoms in that person. It is best to get treatment right away before the symptoms get worse.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of puss moth caterpillar stings.

1) Rash

The most common symptom is a rash on the area of the skin that was stung. This rash will be clear proof that you were stung by a puss moth caterpillar because it has a distinct appearance to it. For instance, there will be erythematous spots on the rash. This is certainly different than a typical rash because there will be a ring of skin around the middle followed by a red ring.

2) Trouble Breathing

Some people experience trouble breathing when they come intact with these toxins. Try not to panic when this happens because it is just an early reaction to the toxins entering your system. The problem should clear up on its own if you practice breathing calmly.

3) Burning

Burning is all too common of a symptom when your skin is exposed to puss moth caterpillar toxins. The best thing you can do is apply a treatment and just wait for the pain to subside. You will feel burning inconsistently over the next couple of days until your skin fully heals.

4) Swelling

Swelling can sometimes happen if your skin touches these toxins. This is just a pro-inflammatory reaction to these dangerous elements getting onto you. It will take time for your body to build up enough anti-inflammatory properties to reduce this symptom. Make sure you watch your diet and eat anti-inflammatory foods too.

5) Nausea

In rare circumstances, you may feel nauseous. If your nausea does not go away after a couple of hours from when you were first stung, then go see a doctor right away. You may have had too many toxins enter your system.

Read also: The Top 10 Most Poisonous Caterpillars in the World


If you happen to get stung by a puss moth caterpillar, you will need to seek treatment immediately. Even though these toxins will not cause permanent harm or death, they will still cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. The sooner you apply treatment to the affected area on your body, the sooner you can feel better.

Be aware that treatment is only going to relieve pain. The toxins themselves will take time to get naturally flushed out of the body. The most effective treatment is washing the affected area with soap and water. Once you dry the area with a hairdryer, place a piece of tape on the area and then pull it off fast. This will remove any caterpillar hairs which may have been stuck in your skin. Now you can use one of several topical applications for pain relief. You can use isopropyl alcohol, baking soda slurry, calamine lotion, or a simple ice pack.

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