what is this???
i was cleaning out the scruffy parts of my deck plants, when it seemed to me some of the purple fountain grass's dead leaves were moving of their own volition. turns out i was wrong. this hairy little dude was moving along. so being the good homeschooling mom, i called for any & all interested parties to have a look-see. just D. & Little Man were home, with Little Man first on scene. we did a photo shoot with hairy dude & placed him gently back in the plant. D. came along, took a look & says..."there are caterpillars that can be harmful, so don't touch him." next morning i was watering the plants & saw hairy dude again...this time i told Big Bro to check him out. and thinking about D.'s comment from the last night, i sent the boys on a science mission: identify hairy dude.
from eMedicine...(certainly not very comforting when this is your first google search hit!)..."The most dangerous caterpillar in the United States is the puss caterpillar or asp (Megalopyge opercularis; see Image 1), the larval form of the flannel moth."
dear me! "Mr. Cuddly" isn't for touching!!!..."The larval stage of this insect is a small, wooly, pussycat-appearing caterpillar covered with rows of long spines that look like fine, soft, cuddly hairs. Because they appear to be small, innocuous pieces of fluff, children and adults alike are led to pick them up and play with them, usually with immediate, extremely painful results."
touching hairy dude is ***hazardous*** to our health...
encounters with him lead to things like **severe, unremitting pain & hospital visits**
hairy dude received an immediate eviction notice from our darling deck. i'll have no creatures with descriptions like "most dangerous" & "asp" lodging among my pretties. hairy dude is now quietly living away from man & domestic beast deep in the overgrown forest nearby.
& i am wearing garden gloves for any & all plant care!