A venomous white caterpillar from Canada has recently been spotted in Brookfield and other parts of our area.

My wife and I were walking along the Still River Greenway in Brookfield last week, and spotted a number of these white poisonous caterpillars along the route. Not only did we see them along the path, but there were at least five or more on the large bridge crossing over the Still River.

These fuzzy little caterpillar's may look harmless, but they can pack quite a sting.

They are the White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar, and they are actually very common to the region, however this has been a good year for them. Their black spines contain venom that allows them to ward off predators, but touching them can also irritate human skin. The good news is the nasty rash it leaves behind is treatable with lotion and ice.

If you happen to touch one, you could be infected, and the hairs could get embedded in your skin. If that happens, make sure you wash the area with soap and water, or use ammonia. Applying calamine lotion and ice after washing should do the trick to help with the sting. Then, as soon as you can, take an antihistamine, which should help relieve the symptoms very quickly. If you experience a severe reaction, seek medical attention.

If you're walking outside with your dog or cat keep them away as well. If one comes in contact with your pet's nose, it could cause a reaction too.

Best advice when it comes to this type of caterpillar is to look but do not touch.

The good news regarding these pesky insects is that we are approaching the end of the caterpillar's life cycle. Soon, they will all be tucked away waiting to emerge as moths in the spring.

Here's a peek at what one of these White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar's look like:

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