When people think of stinging insects, they typically think of bees and wasps, not caterpillars. However, caterpillars have several species that sting including Io caterpillars, which is pictured.

Q: There are several lime-green colored caterpillars feeding on the leaves of my oak tree. What are they and what can I spray to control them?

A: Caterpillars of all kinds make an appearance during the summer. Armyworms, webworms and orange dog caterpillars are all generating calls to the office. Some of these are ferocious looking but are harmless if handled. However, a few caterpillars, if touched, will get your immediate attention. Stinging caterpillars can be found on a variety of landscape plants.

Dr. William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M System. Visit his website at


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