first_imgUrticating caterpillars give you hives. No, really.You may recognize the term “hives” as the red, itchy, stinging,swollen areas of skin that have tortured you or someone you know.The technical term for hives is urticaria. And a number of thingscan cause it.One cause you probably wouldn’t think of is a caterpillar.Urticating caterpillars are moth larvae that get their name fromthe fact that they sting people in a way that produces urticaria.These creepy crawlers have hollow spines that hold an irritatingfluid that causes stinging and burning in a person’s skin. InGeorgia, urticating caterpillars show up in the late summer andfall. The two most common in Georgia are the saddleback and pusscaterpillars.Saddleback caterpillarThe saddleback (Sibine stimulea) is the one most oftenencountered. The full-grown caterpillar is striking. It’s about 1inch long, and the middle of the body is green with a white orcream margin and a large, oval, dark brown spot in the center,also with a white margin. The white-bordered brown spot lookslike a saddle and blanket, giving it its name.Its startling color scheme doesn’t hide the fact that it bristleswith spines. It has pairs of dark brown, spiny “horns” on thefront and rear ends. And in-between are small clumps of spinesalong the lower margin of the green area.Saddlebacks are generally solitary feeders. However, early-stagelarvae may be somewhat gregarious. They show up in many trees,shrubs and other plants, including corn. But they’re most commonon oaks, elms, dogwoods and various fruit trees.Their sting produces an immediate burningsensation, followed by inflammation, swelling and a red rash.Puss caterpillarThe puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) looks alittle like something the cat might have coughed up. It’s hairy.Really hairy. It’s more than an inch long, with short, toxicspines hidden underneath its brown or gray fur. The hairs at therear end form a tail-like tuft, with the head tucked under thefront.Puss caterpillars feed on oaks, pecans, persimmon, fruit trees,roses and other trees and shrubs. They’re typically loners,although you may find several on a given tree.These little dusters only look like harmless hair balls. Theyactually cause the most painful and severe reaction of anyurticating species in the United States.When your skin brushes against the puss caterpillar, the spinesbreak off, releasing an irritating fluid that produces animmediate stinging, burning sensation. The numbness and swellingthat follow may extend to your whole arm or leg in severe cases.Red blotches may persist for a couple of days, accompanied by aweeping rash. Associated lymph nodes may swell and be tender for12 to 24 hours. Systemic reactions may include nausea andvomiting.What to doIf you’re gardening, mowing the lawn, picking fruit or working inother ways in which you might brush against urticatingcaterpillars, wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts and gloves.If one stings you, treat the symptoms. To remove any spines stillin the skin, gently stick a piece of adhesive tape to the siteand then pull it away. Applying cold compresses can lessen thepain and swelling.Over-the-counter pain medications and topical hydrocortisonecreams may help. If the symptoms include systemic reactions ordon’t begin to ease up a couple of days, contact a physician.last_img read more

first_imgROSEMEAD – Voters casting ballots in the March City Council election will find fewer precincts in the city, officials said Thursday. The number of polling places will be reduced to six, plus an all-mail ballot precinct, as a way to ensure Rosemead complies with a federal court order, City Clerk Nina Castruina said. “By consolidating you cut back on the opportunity for error,” said City Manager Andrew Lazzaretto. Having fewer precincts also helps cut the costs of providing bilingual poll workers and materials in other languages, Castruina said. “Even prior to what happened in Rosemead we took a proactive approach during the elections because this is such as diverse city,” said Truong. Like Rosemead, Monterey Park is required to provide election materials in Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. In 2000, there were nearly 60,000 people living in Monterey Park, and 53,000 in Rosemead. Rosemead City Councilman John Nu ez said local elections officials do not want to take any chances March 6. “This will help ensure that the conditions are followed properly,” said Linda Hudson, Rosemead’s election consultant, of the reduced number of precincts. The act requires that election materials be made available in other languages if they are spoken by more than 5 percent of local residents of voting age, and if those voters are not proficient in English. The 2000 census showed that 31 percent of the Rosemead voters are Chinese, 13 percent Vietnamese and 41 percent Latino. Hudson said she does not think having fewer precincts will negatively impact voter results. “We’ve done everything we can to make it easier on voters,” Hudson said. “It will eliminate confusion for them.” Council candidate Polly Low said she has her doubts. “I think in general it will confuse a lot of people,” she said. “There have been people who have for years gone to the same polling place.” She said she hopes the change doesn’t discourage people from voting. Longtime Rosemead resident Kevin Donnelly said the change will not deter him from voting. “We’re not really that inconvenienced,” Donnelly said, “but I have heard that some people are annoyed at the change.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “There are absolutely costs associated with compliance,” she said. In 2005, the U.S. government sued Rosemead, Azusa and Paramount for violating the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. A judge found the cities had failed to translate municipal election materials into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Since the ruling, federal overseers have been patrolling Rosemead’s precincts to ensure the city follows federal election law. They will continue to so until August. Some cities not under scrutiny are complying with federal regulations without reducing the number of polling places. Monterey Park will have 16 polling locations. The city added a precinct for this election, said Deputy City Clerk Cindy Truong. last_img read more