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Residents concerned about caterpillars in Duval County

This caterpillar was spotted climbing a maple tree (Kristine McConnell)
This caterpillar was spotted climbing a maple tree (Kristine McConnell)
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Updated: 7/19/2013 10:47 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- People in Duval County are finding out about the harm caterpillars can do to you and your plants.

Duval County extension agents are getting more calls from neighbors concerned about the amount of caterpillars on their property.

Horticulture extension agent Terry Delvalle said it's that time of year again when caterpillars are everywhere.

"They’re in trees, in vegetable gardens, in shrubs, your lawn," Delvalle said.

With the caterpillar population on the rise, Delvalle said there is a higher risk of coming into contact with the more dangerous ones.

"Your arm may brush up against one and you don’t even realize it until you feel that stinging sensation on your arm," he said.

If you do come into contact with a poisonous caterpillar, the first thing you should do is use some tape to remove the stingers stuck into your hair or skin. Adding baking soda and water to the area after you have removed the stingers will also help to neutralize the sting.

"All of the poisonous ones do have hairs that extend from the body. But a lot of caterpillars have that so you really need to learn to identify the ones that are stinging caterpillars," said Delvalle.

But the best way to avoid touching a poisonous caterpillar is by educating yourself on the different kinds.

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