Hickory Tussock & Woolly Worm Caterpillars

Two common fall caterpillars have been seen out and about in East Lansing neighborhoods: the Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar and Woolly Worms.

The Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar is a striking white fuzzy caterpillar with a distinct black stripe down its back. The Woolly Worm (or woolly bear as it is sometimes called) is a mainly black fuzzy caterpillar with a brown center band.

A “look, but don’t touch” approach is most prudent with both of these furry visitors. These caterpillars rely on their fuzzy hairs to protect them from predators. People who handle these caterpillars could end up with skin irritation, dermatitis or a rash, especially those with known allergies to other insects. It's best to admire these cuties from a distance and not risk touching them.