Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar – Is It Poisonous?

I was reading one of the Facebook groups and found a picture of the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar; also known as the black and white tussock moth caterpillar. Someone posted that it is very poisonous and it should not be touched? I started to wonder – how poisonous is it?

It is common for such warnings to be aggregated. I think back to the Hogweed and pictures of people in hazmat suites trying to clear it. I grew one, touched it, and no reaction at all. How dangerous is the Hickory Tussock? Will you die if you touch it? Will you get a serious rash and blistering? If there is a reaction, how common is it?

In my search for an answer, I found a lot of confusing information and realized that many people, including myself, don’t really understand the difference between a poison, a venom and an allergy. Lets have a closer look and understand how dangerous this cutie really is.

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar - Is it Poisonous?
Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar – Is it Poisonous?

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