More Hudson Valley residents have reported that they’ve found venomous caterpillars with new sightings being reported in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties.
Sightings in the region were first reported in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties. They were also found in other areas upstate.
Hickory tussock moth caterpillars, which have been described as “fuzzy, white and black caterpillars that are often very apparent in the fall, sometimes in large numbers, by officials, have become more prevalent in the area over the summer and fall.
When their hairs get stuck on one’s skin, a person may develop a rash or other sinister symptoms.
Daily Voice readers have reported that the caterpillars are more widespread than originally believed.
“Check out the Nextdoor website for commentary from neighbors about White Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar problems. We're seeing infestations in Westchester (a county not mentioned in your reports on the subject over the past couple of days) over the past few weeks, as well!,” one reader wrote in an email. “Our lake communities (Lake Truesdale, in Lewisboro, in particular) are getting especially hard-hit by these nasty pests.”
Other sightings from readers came from Mohegan Lake, where the caterpillars were spotted for the first time and Pound Ridge. Others were reported in Stony Point, Pound Ridge, and Poughquag for the first time.
"These caterpillars are native, have been here a long time, and like all other caterpillars are not really meant to be touched or handled," one reader noted. "Just leave them be and you'll be fine."
There have been no reported claims of any area residents suffering any adverse reactions from coming into contact with the caterpillars.
“Hickory tussock moths use their hairs for defense – the hairs are barbed, easily detach, and can become embedded in the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes of potential predators,” according to officials with Penn State. “When they spin their cocoons, the caterpillars incorporate the hairs into the silk so that the cocoons are also protected.”
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