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The Mexican Flannel Moth Caterpillar, Colloquially Called “Hairy Worm”

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Published: 15th of March, 2023 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: May 7, 2023 at 0:48 am

Cover photo by Niix Butler

The Mexican Flannel Moth Caterpillar, also called the Stinging Flannel Moth Caterpillar, is known in Guyana as the “hairy worm.” It is found on trees, especially the guava and mango trees. Loaded with poison, it inflicts excruciating pain on anyone who mistakenly touches it. It soon forms a cocoon and transforms into a beautiful moth.

The hairy worm is white in color with reddish fur-like spines which are connected to venom sacs. If you come in contact with the spines, it transfers venom to your body which causes an intense burning pain. Persons who were stung by the hairy worm reported feeling an intense burning sensation for about 1 hour accompanied by instant fever. A sting from the hairy worm is also reported to produce irritable itchy bumps on the part of the body stung.

Some persons have reported that in cases where a person is stung by the hairy worm, making a paste with sugar or honey and applying it to the affected part of the body will relieve the pain. Some say that applying Vicks to the body part affected will provide relief. However, we do not have any scientific evidence to back up these home remedy suggestions.

So, what do you know about the Mexican Flannel Moth Caterpillar? Tell us in the comments!

Special thanks to wildlife expert, Nadia Lisa Salick, for her contributions to this article.

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