• Houston authorities are warning parents about asp caterpillars
  • The friendly-looking caterpillar is venomous
  • Its spikes can cause severe allergic reactions

Megalopyge opercularis, commonly known as Texas southern flannel moth, during its larval stage is called the asp caterpillar. According to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension website, they are typically found in wooded areas, shaded trees, and shrubbery located around homes, parks, and schools.

megalopyge opercularis is a friendly-looking yet venomous caterpillar commonly known as the asp
megalopyge opercularis is a friendly-looking yet venomous caterpillar commonly known as the asp Brett Hondow - Pixabay

A Friendly-Looking Insect

The soft-looking and fuzzy appearance of the caterpillar greatly appeal to children and some unknowing adults. Authorities, however, warns you to stay away if you come across these creatures because a single touch can cause severe pain and lead to you visit an emergency room.

The typical time that adult asps appear to lay their eggs on heavily wooded areas and on trees is during the late spring and summer months. The teardrop-shaped bugs, which measures about an inch, ranges in colors from gray, orange, beige, and tan. Their bodies are covered with long, hair-line spines that look like fur.

Venomous Spines

When you touch the bodies of these bugs, their spines release venoms that causes mild to severe allergies. Affected areas may swell, and numbing and burning pain may also be felt. According to pest control experts, children are particularly vulnerable to severe pain caused by touching these asps.

Mikal Shamsi, a pest detective of Pest Police, in an interview told he hates to see children being stung by these seemingly friendly caterpillars. He said, “They are dealing with pain that will make a grown adult cry.”

A Throbbing Pain

According to the A&M website, within five minutes of touching the asp, the victim will feel an intense throbbing pain, which can sometimes travel down the armpit region. You may also see spots with a reddish hue at the site of the sting. The victim may also experience nausea, headaches, respiratory stress, or shock. In many cases, the victim may also begin to vomit.

For home remedies, you can try placing and ripping off an adhesive tape over the affected area to try removing the embedded spines. You can then apply ice packs over the sting. The pain should not continue longer than an hour. If the allergic reaction worsens, you need to immediately visit the doctor.