Maybe I haven't been paying attention enough, but what are stinging caterpillars?

According to KXXV, it's officially "stinging caterpillar" season and I'm feeling a little under educated because I've never heard of stinging caterpillars. I've also never heard of "murder hornets", but apparently they also exist.

These stinging caterpillars, also know as the southern flannel moth caterpillar, or the asp or puss caterpillar, can sting you pretty good and may require a trip to a local hospital. Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension specialist, told KXXV's Anissa Connell, “A good rule of thumb is if a caterpillar looks ‘fuzzy’, don’t touch it.”

In the case that your curiosity gets the best of you, and you do decide to handle these stinging caterpillars, and get stung, you may feel the pain right away or it may take a few minutes. You'll need to remove the spines and tape can help assist this process. You'll also need to wash the area with soap and water and an ice-pack can help relieve the pain. Over the counter insect bite products can also help provide some relief.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has an article that explains the life cycle of these things and what to be on the lookout for. Check it out here.

So this is the world we live in now: "stinging caterpillars" and murder hornets are actually a thing. 2020, you need to calm down.

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