Puss Caterpillar: Don’t Touch ‘Furry’, Poisonous Megalopyge Opercularis in Florida; Boy Reportedly Stung in NC

September 9, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

The puss caterpillar, a fuzzy bug, has been spotted in Florida, and scientists in the state say not to touch it.

According to Fox Tampa Bay, the caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) can be found in trees. If one touches the bug, it will cause instantaneous and intense pain, officials told Fox.

It’s been said that the pain is worse than a scorpion, jellyfish, or bee. The venom can also cause vomiting and convulsions, and the caterpillars are known to fall out of trees.

The warning comes as a report said a boy  in North Carolina was stung by a Puss caterpillar on Tuesday, NBC reported.

Silena Lane, mother of the 4-year-old child, said, “The other day I was surfing Facebook and ran on to an article that someone posted. Didn’t pay it much attention. Just thought to myself ‘sure hope we don’t have those here’,” she added. “He loves bugs and so he picked it up and was stung,”Lane said.

WFLA reported that the bristles on the caterpillar can break off into the skin and cause a skin reaction or possibly a fever.

Doctors say that if one is stung, it’s best to put Scotch tape over the affected area before pulling it out until all the spines are out.

After that, use an ice pack to reduce the pain and possible swelling.