'Trump' caterpillar common in Florida

Venomous puss caterpillar known for looking like Donald Trump's hair


A warning for parents about a bug that pops up a lot this time of year in Florida that isn't well known, but carries venomous spines that can cause more pain that a bee or scorpion sting.

Recently my 6-year-old son, Kade, was hurt by a puss caterpillar -- one of the most venomous caterpillars in the country.

I only knew what it was after trapping the bug in a jar and doing some research.

The caterpillar's sting can cause shock, and in extreme cases, shortness of breath. Fortunately, for my son, it just caused intense pain for around an hour.


After the pain subsided, I asked my son if he was scared to look at it.

"Not that scared, not as long as he's not out of this jar," he said.

These caterpillars are found in bushes and fall from trees in Florida about this time of year.

Also interesting, the puss caterpillar is also called the Trump caterpillar because the bug has long, flowing hair like the man currently leading the polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

The caterpillars can also be called the Asp caterpillar.

The University of Florida has done a lot of research on these bugs.

"Most likely don't need to go to the hospital unless you have a more serious reaction to it," said  Lyle Buss, an insect identification lab manager at U.F. "Otherwise just treating the symptoms."

Dr. Harold Laski, of the Southside Medical Center, said you only need to seek medical attention if you develop symptoms of shock or shortness of breath. Those symptoms can include sweating, not thinking clearly and dizziness.

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