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American Dagger Moths Can Be Toxic

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Beware of hairy yellow caterpillars with black spikes. They are American dagger moths that have have toxic properties when hairs are touched. One slight brush sent me to the ER with significant hives, elevated blood pressure, facial flushing, and chills.

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I did some online research and learned that pets who innocently consume the caterpillars can also become ill enough to seek a vet's care. I am still afflicted with hives after three days and am dosing with Benedryl. One helpful hint is applying ice directly on hives and it has helped when topical cortisone and oral medications have fallen short relieving the itching.

You can Google search a photo and info about American Dagger moth and other toxic hairy caterpillars all over the US. I also found many other home remedies for hives.

By Kathy from Western PA

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Anonymous
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

Holy Cow! Never knew that and am glad you will be okay! Thanks for the heads up!

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By jamochalover (Guest Post)
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

You mentioned you had found home remedies for hives? Please share! :)

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August 6, 20180 found this helpful

I have been finding them on my deck but cant tell where they are coming from.

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August 7, 20180 found this helpful

Most likely living in/on the trees and going to your yard/porch

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Anonymous
August 19, 20180 found this helpful

They are common on the east cost so maybe that is where

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Anonymous
September 11, 20180 found this helpful

I live in Billings Montana & have a lot of them in my front yard where I have a large maple tree. I left my hunting boots on my front steps overnight & had one in each boot this morning. Now my toes are stinging like I stepped on cactus.

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I put After Bite cream on them & that helped a lot. Obviously, don't leave boots or shoes out when they're around. I guess they thought they were big stinky cartoons & were saving themselves the trouble of making there own

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July 30, 20170 found this helpful

Oddly enough, most of the research I was able to find did not mention this caterpillar's toxicity. Just that they are voracious eaters of many deciduous tree leaves. Are you absolutely certain that you may not have gotten hives from another source? I am mostly concerned because I am currently finding these caterpillars all the time in and around my garage. I have two large maple trees in my front yard that are most likely the place they're coming from. We have moved them from the garage to the outdoors with bare hands and have not yet experienced any allergic reactions.

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September 16, 20170 found this helpful

My son came into contact with this caterpillar and has hives/rash going from his stomach to his one knee and had to go to the hospital. Benadryl and a cream is what he has been given. Hope this helps anyone.

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Anonymous
July 27, 20180 found this helpful

What type of cream?

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September 5, 20180 found this helpful

I know this question was posed a long time ago but if you still havent found an answer, here it is. The Dagger Moth caterpillar is not very toxic. It causes mild skin irritation and a rash on someone with sensitive skin.

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Maybe that person was somehow allergic to it and that's why they got hives but generally to a large population of people out there it's not really going to bother them that much.

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Anonymous
September 27, 20180 found this helpful

Hey guys today I thought I would do a project and take a caterpillar in my house and see if it would turn into a butterfly I have touched this multiple times and now Im afraid that Im gonna get very sick

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August 4, 20170 found this helpful

Glad I googled this caterpillar! Came across one of these on a sidewalk in north central Iowa. Have never seen one before.

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August 10, 20170 found this helpful

I was just stroking one today I didn't know it was poisonous it just crawled on me like I was a tree it didn't bitbpr do anything predatorial

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September 26, 20170 found this helpful

I found one yesterday while mowing here in Oklahoma, brought it home to identify/watch cocoon and emerge, and today my middle finger is sooooo itchy!

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July 11, 20180 found this helpful

I had one right next to my front door today. Glad I told the kids not to touch it. The black spikes through me of. And it was yellow.

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Most creatures with those type of colors use that as a way to get prey or defense. Thanks for all the comments. I researched them, and its an American Dagger moth caterpillar alright.

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Anonymous
July 22, 20180 found this helpful

I have one in my. Sunroom. Up. In. Northern Ohio.

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July 23, 20180 found this helpful

I am covered in hives and a rash after coming in contact with if

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August 1, 20180 found this helpful

are the moths In moth form at all dangerous.

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Anonymous
August 5, 20180 found this helpful

Wow! I just found one in my backyard and took a ton of pics and videos of it! Im glad i didnt touch it!! Thanks for letting people know!

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August 6, 20180 found this helpful

I think they only cause hives/rash if you are allergic to them. As you would theoretically only know if you are allergic by handling them, it is probably better to avoid them. We have them all over the place near the Pittsburgh area, and I know dozens of people who have handled them with no issues, kids and adults. I only know of one person who experienced very minor redness and irritation after touching one for a long period of time (several minutes).

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Glad to hear you found remedies for your hives!!

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August 21, 20180 found this helpful

I found one crawling along and I picked it up a FEW hours later my hand swelled up and on MY other wrist 20 oozing pimples and hives on MY leg about the size of a half dollar and MY side as well, I tried to STOP it from falling and I held it against MY t-shirt and I have stings went through MY shirt, NOW on to the next day, MY hand swelled even more and it's BURNING and numb at the same time the hives have gotten more itchy BURNING type of FEEL so I suggest you keep kids away from THEM because in kids eyes brighte yellow they will for sure want it

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Anonymous
September 1, 20180 found this helpful

I found one of these caterpillars on our back porch yesterday. It had the long fuzzy yellow hair and black spikes. I also noticed it had a black shiny head with two tiny white dots which resembled eyes although I am not sure if that is actually what they were. I did not touch it but took several pictures. Years ago my then two year old little girl played with a large fuzzy light yellow caterpillar for quite a while. Then she came to me saying her hands itched.

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Her little palms and fingers were bright red and so swollen they were actually bent backwards. My doctor had me give her benadryl. When she was about eight years old, she played with a smaller black and white one and had the same reaction. When she was ten I bought her a pair of "fur-lined" boots that were made in Korea. Her feet had the same reaction. It made me wonder if they make artificial fur over there using caterpillar hair?

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August 10, 20180 found this helpful

I found one is my backyard and almost touched it but I realized it had fur and thought it may be poisonous, and my dogs were not out at the time but my dog prolly would have eaten it because it is easy to spot.

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Anonymous
August 22, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks for all the info, I have one on my window ledge as we speak. Thankfully I had the sense not to touch it. So beautiful though. I'll be caustious to keep my little dog away.

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August 14, 20180 found this helpful

Scary. I caught one (thankfully without touching it) and I am keeping with me until it "blooms" or turns into a moth. Thanks for the advise and when I release it I will make sure not to touch it.

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August 16, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you for this helpful information! There are some of these in our sub in Plymouth, Michigan.

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August 18, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks! Looking at one right now. Also in W. PA. I know not to touch ones with spikes, but i wanted to ID it and educate my daughter about being careful.

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August 19, 20180 found this helpful

Just so you know, the part where you said that you think you have to be allergic is wrong.

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August 19, 20180 found this helpful

I will test and let everyone know

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August 20, 20180 found this helpful

I am in Peterborough Ontario Canada and found this caterpillar on my way home today

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Anonymous
August 22, 20180 found this helpful

Im in Wisconsin and found one on my porch I didnt touch it because off the spikes !!!

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August 25, 20180 found this helpful

I had one crawl into my shirt. It really tore me up. Couldnt figure out what was stinging me.

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Anonymous
August 29, 20180 found this helpful

In my yard in Toronto this summer.

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September 1, 20180 found this helpful

Had one crawl up my pant leg today while sitting in a park. I heard they were poisonous so I used my pocket life to lift it off my pant leg and placed it back on the ground. About 20 minutes later while I was sitting there talking with a friend I felt stinging sensations like when a biting fly gets you on my shoulder and neck. My buddy said that catapillar was on my back of my shirt. He got it off my shirt but the whole area of my back and neck was stinging all over and felt like when you get fiberglass insulation on your skin. When I got home my wife wiped my back and neck down with rubbing alcohol and then put a cortisone gel on the areas and it helped. I took 2 benydryl and it seems to have helped and no rash yet.

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September 2, 20180 found this helpful

We live near Goderich in Ontario Canada and have been seeing them in our backyard this past week. So far we've seen 6. All different sizes. Making sure our daughter doesnt touch them.

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Anonymous
September 3, 20180 found this helpful

i found one of these caterpillars on my maple tree and took it to the driveway on a leaf, and squished it with a rock...some of the juice hit my thumb and the edge of my eyelid....am i in trouble

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September 3, 20180 found this helpful

I must have tough skin LOL... I have handled both the Yellow and the white daggger moth caterpillars over the years, and never had any reaction... although when I think about it, I didn't pet their soft fuzzy fur or their black spikes, but just let them walk on my hand. I think the toxins are in the the fur and particularly the spikes, but not their feet... I noticed there was one other person who earlier commented that they didn't have any reaction to handling them either, and I do think some people have more sensitive skin. It's certainly wise to be cautious!!! By the way, I live in Long Island, NY, and grew up summering in Cape May Point, NJ, where I first noticed these caterpillars. :-)

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September 4, 20180 found this helpful

I just found one of those caterpillars at the base of my grandsons little playset.

I have googled it and found conflicting information. I did remove it and have took pictures to show my daughter and son inlaw.

Thank you for all your comments cause with the information shared here I am not taking any chances of my grandson getting poisoned.

We are in Shelburne Ontario.

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September 7, 20180 found this helpful

I've read the comments and just want to add that where on the body that they attach to may make a difference. Yesterday i felt a sensation on side of my face and casually brushed my hand. Turns out the sensation was a spiny yellow caterpillar that made contact with my eye when I moved my hand. I was able to get the prickly spines off my skin by applying tape and pulling it off like is done with waxing for hair removal. However, the spiny hairs seemed to lodge on my eyeball causing redness and discomfort. I wound up going to ophthalmologist who irrigated and flushed the eye to see if there was any damage to the cornea. She also prescribed lotemax eye gel drops. I have a little rash around my eyes, and she told me to monitor this. Curiously, I also developed sniffles after the caterpillar incident, so that may be another reaction.

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October 7, 20180 found this helpful

Use tape on affected area to remove stingers. Worked like a charm for me.

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