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Residents In Four Hudson Valley Counties Report Seeing Venomous Caterpillars

Hickory tussock moth caterpillars have been found in four Hudson Valley counties.
Hickory tussock moth caterpillars have been found in four Hudson Valley counties. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Venomous caterpillars have been reported across New York and in several counties in the Hudson Valley.

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. When their hairs get stuck on one’s skin, a person may develop a rash.

According to officials, the rash is similar to poison ivy. It may also lead to difficulty breathing and vomiting.

To date, Hickory tussock moth caterpillars have been reported in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties. They were also found in other areas upstate.

“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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