What can be perilous about doing a photo shoot for a crafty, homey, DIY blog you might ask? Well, I'll admit that "perilous" is an exaggeration, but something unusual and somewhat painful did happen to me a few days ago when Pam and I were trying to take some outdoor photos for this blog.We were getting ready to stage a really pretty shot by some black-eyed Susan plants in one of our flower gardens. There were some dead leaves and a few that had some holes in them, as if they had been munched on by an insect. Not wanting those few leaves to detract from the photograph, I began picking them off the plant. All of a sudden I felt this "prickly" sensation on my arm. I went to grab another leaf off the plant and my arm started to sting and burn. It then began to turn red and I noticed this mark. I had no idea what happened and the odd sensations in my arm began to intensify. I started looking among the plant stems to see if I could find anything. All of a sudden Pam noticed something odd on one of the leaves I had taken off the plant. I've come across many insects while gardening, but neither of us had ever seen anything like this before. I went inside to ask Dave to come out into the yard to see if he knew what it might be, but as teenagers do, Pam was already trying to access information about the mystery bug on her phone. By the time Dave and I returned to the yard she was reading information to us, and I must admit, the burning in my arm was getting a little worse.
It turns out the culprit is "Acharia Stimulea", or more commonly known as a Saddleback Caterpillar, and it is considered poisonous. It belongs to a family of slug caterpillars called Limacodidae. They are found in eastern North America from July to October. While they mature into moths that are dark in color, the caterpillars themselves look quite colorful and interesting. They have what looks like a green saddle on their dark colored base. They also have spines that protrude in many directions and that is how they inject the poison into their victims. We read about them on various sites, and as recommended, I washed the area and put an ice pack on my arm, followed by some hydrocortisone cream. My reaction was mild and my arm felt better about an hour later. However, from what I read, some people have a much worse response, especially if they are allergic to bee stings. It's certainly an insect that I will be on the lookout for in the future and will do my best to avoid it.