Thursday, October 22, 2020

2020 Bingo: Hairy Caterpillars with Venomous Spines Sighted in Virginia

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Mary Anne Butler
Mary Anne Butler (Mab) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), Bleeding Cool (where she was News Editor), and now NerdBot as News Editor. Over the past 10 years, she’s built a reputation at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. Though she be but little, she is fierce.

Okay so….we’re back onto filling our complete 2020 Bingo cards with outlandish and outright scary stuff. This time, it’s venomous hairy caterpillars, and they’ve been sighted in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Forestry

Please, don’t touch this thing. The Virginia Department of Forestry wants you to stay away from this particular caterpillar because those lil spines on the back of it are venomous.

Diagnostician at the Insect Identification Lab at Virginia Tech University Theresa Dellinger told CNN:

“There are little hollow hairs in that fluffy, hairy material. It’s not going to reach out and bite you, but if someone brushes up against that hair, it’ll release toxins that you’ll have a reaction to.

If someone is susceptible to bee stings, treat it like one. Go ahead and seek medical treatment, if you have had bad reactions to other insects in the past.”

This particular critter isn’t normally seen in Virgina. It usually resides in places like Texas and Missouri.

“With changes in our climate, we’re seeing some insects change their population. But it’s too soon to tell. Caterpillars, moths and butterflies all have cyclical periods, it’s all about the right time, and the right conditions,” Dellinger said.

So watch out!

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