How to Treat a Caterpillar Sting

Updated April 17, 2017

The caterpillar is not known for stinging as a rule, but there are some species that do. When you are stung by a caterpillar, the reaction can range from mild tingling, to a severe allergic reaction. A rash will almost always break out at the area of contact with the caterpillar, and it is very important to know how to treat the area. This article will tell you what to do.

Utilise some masking tape or other adhesive tape to lift any embedded hairs or bristles from the caterpillar before washing. Just apply the tape over the area, and when you remove the tape, you will remove the hairs.

Wash the affected area very well with regular soap and water. This will help to eliminate any remaining venom from the caterpillar.

Ice the area down well, as this will aid with swelling and pain. If the swelling persists, then contact a physician immediately as this could be a serious allergic reaction.

Take some over the counter allergy medicine to help with the allergic reactions. Anything that you might take for a bee sting will usually work well with a caterpillar sting. Technically, a caterpillar does not sting as it does not have a stinger. It actually delivers venom through the hairs and spines on its body.

Resist the urge to itch the affected area as this will further irritate the reaction. If you can not keep from itching, then ask your doctor about solutions via a prescription. There are a number of products that can help with the itching.


Do handle caterpillars with gloves only. Do wash the area right away. Do use ice to relieve swelling.


Do not wait for the swelling to begin before icing. Do not try to remove a caterpillar with your bare hands. Do not ignore severe reactions to caterpillars as they can be serious.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Allergy medicine
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About the Author

Based in Greensboro, Rodney Southern has been writing and editing sports and nature articles for going on 10 years. His articles have appeared in "Nicean" magazine, "The Sporting News" website and countless other online venues. Southern was the 2008 Ultimate Call for Content National Award Winner. He attended Guilford Tech and was trained as an EMT in the Army.