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_imgDespite recording a high temperature yesterday of 27.4 degrees, Fort St. John fell five degrees shy of a Canada Day record. On July first, 1942 we recorded a high of 32.4 degrees but today’s record of 30.7, set just two years ago, may be reachable. Right now the Environment Canada forecast high for today is 29 degrees but, the Weather Network is still calling for 30. According to Environment Canada there’s also a 30 percent chance of showers or thundershowers today and, a 60 percent chance tomorrow. That’s good news for the farming community, because we have just finished a very dry month of June. Total precipitation was only 26.7 millimeters, less than 40 percent of the monthly norm of 71.4. July is traditionally the top moisture month in this region recording an average of 83.2 millimeters.- Advertisement –last_img read more

first_imgNot even rain could keep A’s Team President Dave Kaval’s excitement levels down when speaking about plans for a new ballpark.Over 400 fans and community members descended upon Jack London Square Thursday afternoon for an open house put together by the A’s just one day after publicly announcing their proposal to build a new waterfront stadium. Though was a gloomy day in the town, the atmosphere was quite lively on the first floor of the building at the site of the A’s team headquarters.Fans …last_img

first_imgRaptors fans across Canada — and beyond — are gearing up for Monday’s potentially championship-clinching Game 5 in Toronto.Viewing parties across the country are expanding as the Raptors look to make history by claiming their first NBA title against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.Toronto leads the series three games to one after taking the last two on the Warriors’ home court in Oakland, Calif.Outdoor public viewing spaces that have popped up across the country are expected to expand to accommodate the ever-growing crowds gripped by Raptors fever.In Halifax, Gab LeVert has been organizing block parties throughout the final round of the playoffs, and says the crowds have grow larger every game.“For Game 4 on a sunny Friday in Halifax, I don’t think anyone could have expected what happened. We had hundreds of people overflowing into the streets because we were at maximum capacity,” LeVert said.“Everyone was respectful, but everyone was so happy to be a Raptors’ fan.”An event in Regina is moving to Mosaic Stadium, home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, after an estimated 2,500 fans turned out to watch Game 4 at City Square Plaza downtown on Friday.According to the football club, the venue’s MaxTron screen is not only the largest screen in Canada, at over 630 square metres — it’s even bigger than a standard NBA basketball court.In Mississauga, Ont., crowds have increased at Celebration Square, where police say about 25,000 people turned out to watch Game 4.The outdoor viewing spaces are aimed at creating local versions of Jurassic Park, the tailgating area outside Scotiabank Arena that brings hordes of frenzied fans to every Raptors game.On Saturday morning, a father and son from Stoney Creek, Ont., were prepared to spend two nights in line to ensure they got a spot.Twenty-year-old Zac Tiessen and 55-year-old Doug Tiessen call themselves “crazy fans” who also see the trip as an opportunity to bond.They said camping out at Jurassic Park is how they will make up for the time they couldn’t do a father-son trip to Africa because Doug was stricken with Lyme disease.“This is a healing moment for us to be able to spent a really special moment and to make up for that trip we didn’t get to do,” said Zac.Wearing his late grandfather’s “vintage” Raptors hat, Zac said he and his dad packed three bags of groceries, five books, a dozen bottles of water and an iPad.“We’ve always wanted to make it to Jurassic Park, but we never have so this is our first time and it could be a crazy first time if they win,” said Zac.“It’s definitely a historic moment for all of Canada.”South of the border, Toronto-born Raptors superfan Angela Tran is making plans to watch Game 5 in the heart of enemy territory — a bar in the San Francisco Bay area.Tran said she won’t mind being around all the Warriors fans cheering on their local heroes, just as long as they can all share the excitement of the game together.Tran, 36, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010, but said she hasn’t lost her “Raptors spirit.”She watched Game 4 at Oracle Arena and said the presence of Raptors fans was strong in the sea of yellow Warriors shirts.“I think the average Raptors fan is very loud compared to the average Warriors fan. It was electric in there,” said Tran.She said following the victory, Raptors fans in the arena got together to sing “O Canada.”“I’ve always known how incredible Toronto is, but it’s kind of life show-and-tell,” said Tran.“We’ve always been able to tell, but not been able to show. But now we’re able to show it.”— By Alanna Rizza in Toronto, with files from Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Kevin Bissett in FrederictonThe Canadian Presslast_img read more