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Buck Moth

The Buck Moth (Hemileuca maia[1]) is a common insect found in oak forests, stretching in the United States from the south east to the north east and as far west as Texas and Kansas.[2] The larvae typically emerge in a single generation in the spring. The larvae are covered in hollow spines that are attached to a poison sac. The poison can cause symptoms ranging from itching and burning sensations to nausea.[3]

Mature larvae enter the soil to pupate in late June and emerge between October and December as moths to mate and lay eggs. Eggs are typically laid in spiral clusters on oak twigs.[4] In Louisiana, particularly in cities such as Baton Rouge or New Orleans, where use of live oaks as street trees is extensive, the caterpillars can become a significant nuisance for humans.[5] The caterpillars of this moth can also be found in some areas of Virginia, such as the Goshen Scout Reservation, where they are infamous for stinging people going to a summer camp in the area.

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