Saddleback Caterpillar

The spines on this colorful caterpillar deliver a potent sting.
Related To:
saddleback_caterpillar_new

saddleback_caterpillar_new


If you see this critter, don't touch! Its many spines are capable of delivering a sting you won't soon forget. The saddleback caterpillar's hollow quills are connected to poison glands beneath its skin, and the pain and swelling from contact with them can rival or surpass that of a bee sting.

The saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) is the inch-long larval form of a fuzzy, dark brown moth. In this crawling stage, however, its coloration is vivid: in the center of its bright green "saddle" is a purplish-brown circle. The critter can be found in the eastern U.S., mostly on deciduous trees and shrubs as well as corn and grasses in midsummer to early fall.

If you have the misfortune of a too-close encounter with the saddleback, wash the area immediately with soap and water, and apply ice to help relieve pain. If any spines are still embedded in the skin, adhesive tape may be useful in removing them. The burning pain and discomfort can last for several hours. People with allergic reactions or who have a sensitivity to bee stings should contact their physician immediately.

Next Up

Walnut Caterpillar

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

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!

Spiny Elm Caterpillar

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

Gardening Q & A: Summer Snowflake Plant and More

Master gardener Paul James talks about pruning candles, cool plants, and no-hassle manure tea.

How to Garden in Just 15 Minutes a Day

No time to garden? Learn 10 easy tricks to multiply minutes in the garden.

Glossary of Gardening Terms

Whether you're just starting out or need a refresher, brush up on essential gardening terms with this easy glossary.

Accessible Gardening Techniques

No matter what life throws at you, get back into the garden with these tricks and tools for elderly or disabled gardeners.

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.

Five Fabulous Potting Benches

Form and function come together in these essential garden workhorses.

Extending the Gardening Season

Use these methods to stretch extra days and weeks out of your growing season.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Bones

2pm | 1c

Good Bones

3pm | 2c

Good Bones

4pm | 3c

Good Bones

5pm | 4c

Good Bones

6pm | 5c

Good Bones

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Pool Hunters

11pm | 10c

Hawaii Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Hawaii Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

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