Currently viewing the category: "Asps and Flannel Moth Caterpillars"

what’s that bug
Hello! My name is José Antônio. I live in Brazil. I found this caterpillar (Megalopygidae) in a orange tree. Can you help me to identify the species? Thank you very much.

Hi José Antônio,
Sorry to have taken so long, but we have tried to contact other people to get you an identification.  Sadly we are unable to help you.  You probably know much more about your native species than we do since you have identified it as a Megalopygidae.  Our members of that group are known as Puss Moths.  The caterpillars often have poison spines and are called Asps locally, especially in Texas.  Good luck with a positive identification.  Please keep us informed as to what you find out.  You can always raise the caterpillar since you know its food plant and then see what type of moth emerges.  Have a great day.  Daniel

I live in Texas and have always live with (not very well I might add!) what I have always thought were “ASP”. That must not be the “real name” because I can’t find anything on them. They sting like the dickens! Could you please give me more info. on them. They are about an inch long and furry. They tend to hang out on Oak (I think) leaves. THEY STING SOOOO BAD!!!!
Thank you,

Hi Again Julie,
I have finally identified your Asps. It is another name for the Puss Caterpillar. The Puss Caterpillar or “Asp” is the larval form of the Flannel Moth, Megalopyge opercularis. The caterpillars grow to about 1 inch long and are furry in appearance, being completely covered by thick tan to grayish-white hairs that taper toward the back end. Among the long body hairs are shorter spines that discharge venom upon contact. The head and legs are not visible from above. The night-active adults known as flannel moths are rarely encountered. Here is a photo from a great site.

Asps and Wasps, easily confused
I haven’t had my question answered but have seen questions from Sept answered. Do I need a pic? If so, I don’t have one. My question again is below.
We have some bugs in our garage that I would like to know more about. We call them “asps” although I’m not sure this is the accurate name. Our garage is detached from our home not heated/cooled and dark most of the time. We noticed that sometimes they attach themselves to the siding on our house in something sort of like a cocoon. They are small, about 3/4 of an inch, look to be kinda “furry”, gray to brown in color. If you get stung by one it hurts like hell. I was stung on the inside of my forearm and felt pain all the way to my armpit. A call to poison control said the sting affects your lymph nodes and that was the pain I was feeling in my armpit area. The burning is awful and it took me a good 4-6 weeks to get rid of the itch. We think our dog may have been stung by one on the nose and boy did she suffer. Her snout was so swollen her eyes were almost shut and she had a nasty area on her nose at the point of contact.
We’d also like to know if there is anything we can do to get rid of them.
V. Hernandez
San Antonio, TX

Dear Velma,
I doubt that you were stung by an asp, which is in actuality the deadly snake that Cleopatra used to commit suicide rather than to submit to Caesar. Wasps, however, are a different story and actually fit your description. Some species of solitary wasps make a mud nest in protected areas like under the eaves or inside of a garage. They sting, and sensitive people could posibly be affected as long as you state. We are not doctors, so we can’t tell you much about your lymph nodes, and we have no extermination advice, that being a job for your local experts. Sorry for the delay in answering your letter. We truly have been swamped with letters. Thank you for your patience.