Painful sting of puss caterpillars returns to Florida

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One of the most venomous caterpillars in the United States is found all across Florida. In the Bay Area, several people have reported seeing puss caterpillars in their backyards.

One Spring Hill man said he was stung by one a few days ago.

"It's definitely incapacitating," said Michael Dusk. "It feels extremely painful."

The Florida Poison Control Center reports receiving a fair amount of calls about caterpillar bites on a yearly basis.

"Great to look at, don't touch them," said Dr. Alfred Aleguas, the director of the Florida Poison Control Center in Tampa Bay.

Although bites from puss caterpillars can cause significant pain, experts said in most cases, an ER visit is not necessary.

"If you call us right away, we can tell you things to do to relieve a lot of the pain," said Aleguas, who added that removing the spines from the wound is a critical part of recovery.

A Riverview couple said they found three puss caterpillars behind their home.

They said they resisted the temptation to touch them and quickly removed them away from their pets.

"You just have to be aware that it's not a bug that you pick up," said Paula Lasswell. "And you should always not pick up caterpillars in Florida, but I think that that's an unusual one that looks like you want to touch it."