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Katy Residents Marvel in a Different Caterpillar Season


May 1, 2024

By Natalie Cook Clark


Black, furry caterpillars have been seen all around the Katy area. They they are similar to the Katy tree asps these critters don't come with the painful sting.

Photo credit: Cristian El Capitan


Caterpillars Around Katy

‘Tis the season for the caterpillars and there are plenty in Katy for residents to see as they move about including running across Katy roads.


So What Are They?

Caterpillars running around Katy is becoming a pretty common site these days because they are in season to be out. The most common one is the black fuzzy caterpillars that are salt marsh moths. These critters are harmless to residents and not like the fuzzy asps that can inflict a painful sting.

Katy Magazine asked residents to share their pictures and videos on our Facebook page and the response was fun.


This is the time of year when many caterpillars are coming out of their winter hiding spots. They are attracted to the many flowers and plants that are currently in full bloom, your allergies may have also alerted you to this season.


These caterpillars will feed on plants before weaving a cocoon to turn into moths later in the season. Many residents have shared pictures of them and even video as they can be surprisingly fast when crossing streets.


While these critters are harmless to the Katy residents who enjoy seeing them, there are similar critters that can cause harm. Tree asps also turn into moths, but unlike these caterpillars, tree asps can sting and really hurt.


Photo credit: Tracy Dehmer Elliott

What are Tree Asps?

Tree asps, like most stinging caterpillars, belong to the family of flannel moths - in this case - the Southern Flannel Moth. They're tricky to spot - lots are only about the size of a quarter. The ones found around here are teardrop shaped, and their hair resembles cotton or fur that's gray to reddish brown. More mature asps have wings.


Tree asps in Katy are seasonal. The peak season for them is the end of October and November.


However, everyone should proceed with caution when looking to handle any wild critter. Katy is home to many wild critters that, like the currently prevalent caterpillars, are fun to look at. Leave them be and let them pass as they prepare for their next stage.


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