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Fuzzy Moths Causing Problems At Idaho's Sage Hen Reservoir

Natalie McNear
Flickr Creative Commons
This tussock moth looks cute and fuzzy, but he's really quite painful to touch.

Moths are causing problems in camping areas around Smiths Ferry. Turns out the fuzzy-looking creatures can sting anyone who cross paths with them. 

The Boise National Forest is reporting an outbreak of Douglas-fir tussock moths at Sage Hen Reservoir five miles west of Smiths Ferry. The moths are currently in their caterpiller stage. They look fuzzy, but that fuzz is really made up of bristly hairs that can cause an allergic type reaction when they come in contact with human skin.

The tiny hairs can cause pain, itching, rash, blisters, and swelling. Poison Control says if you brush up against the bristly creatures, don’t touch the spot. Instead, put tape over the area to remove the hairs, then wash with soap and water and try a hydrocortisone cream.

The moths are native to western North America and eat the needles on fir trees. They’ve been found at Sage Hen and in a few other spots in the Boise National Forest. The caterpillers are expected to hang around throughout August.  

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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