Flannel Moth Caterpillar

The one-inch-long flannel moth caterpillar is fluffy but definitely not friendly. Don't let this cute Einstein-like visage fool you!
flannelmothcaterpillar

flannelmothcaterpillar

Part of its coat includes stinging, or urticating, hairs. Like other stinging caterpillars, the flannel moth caterpillar doesn't sting in the sense that bees and wasps do, but their hairs are connected with glands that contain toxins. There are several types of stinging caterpillars, and their degree of toxicity varies. For some people, the flannel moth caterpillar causes only intense itching or burning; others experience an allergic reaction and need to seek medical attention. In other words, photograph these critters all you want but don't touch!

Horticulturally speaking, the flannel moth caterpillar is not as much of a problem. It feeds on the leaves of oaks, redbuds, maples, hibiscus, and other deciduous trees and shrubs but usually isn't considered a serious pest.

"You normally see just one or two at a time, and the extent of the damage is not usually noticed since it's high up in the trees," says Wendy Wilber, environmental horticultural extension agent for Alachua County, Florida.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Saddleback Caterpillar

The spines on this colorful caterpillar deliver a potent sting.

Walnut Caterpillar

In some southern states, this hairy critter is a hazard to pecan, walnut and hickory trees.

Spiny Elm Caterpillar

The spiny elm caterpillar is the larval stage of the mourning cloak butterfly.

Io Moth Caterpillar

Don't let this caterpillar get under your skin. The larval stage of the io moth is capable of inflicting very painful stings.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth

The White-lined Sphinx Moth starts out as a caterpillar and uses soil to turn into an adult moth.

Help! Caterpillars Are Eating My Plants

Pests are guests you don't want to invite to your garden table.

Downloading the Garden

Master gardener Paul James explains the benefits of shopping online.

When Soil Comes in Bags

How can you tell if bagged soil is any good -- before you take it home? Read on.

What Kind of Garden Do You Have?

What you do with your garden will be affected by whether it is brand new, established or neglected. Here's how to tell which kind you have, and how you can make it flourish.

Community Gardens: What are the Rules of the Rows?

Community gardens can be great ways to grow food and improve your community. But certain behavior is expected. Learn more about community garden etiquette.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.