Summer and searing heat are just ahead, it’s time to introduce you to the Texas Asp.
One morning while pruning roses I noticed these furry cream-colored caterpillars. I grabbed my camera and started clicking. Something about them was familiar, I just could not put my finger on it. I had taken photos of critters all week so my husband was not surprised I discovered something new. Curiosity got the best of me, I had to see what kind of caterpillar they were. I had thoughts of beautiful butterflies flying around my yard.
To my surprise and horror, they were Asp! If you are not from the South you can’t fully appreciate the terror growing within. It is close to impossible to kill them. When you get stung by an Asp it’s like having acid poured on you. Their hairs can get embedded in the skin and every time you touch the area it’s like a new dose of acid.
When I was a kid one fell from the porch ceiling at my grandparent’s house. It fell down the back of my shirt. I was screaming and crying so hard it was difficult to stop to tell granny something was on my back. They leave a mark that looks like a branding iron. My back looked like red tire tracks. With this memory, I had to go out the next morning a find them not only for me but for our pets.
Like a scene from Mission Impossible, I found three. I had read how hard they are to kill so I carefully put them in a sealed plastic bag and let them bake in the Texas heat. This method worked beautifully. I knew there were at least two others and did find one the next day. I look every day and can’t prune my favorite rose without thinking one is still on the loose. I was The Asp Wrangler.
If stung, take clear tape and carefully put it over the area.
Pull slowly in the opposite direction of the hair.
It will pull the hairs out. Make sure all are gone or you’ll get a reminder every time touched.
FUN Post from 2009