Stinging caterpillars cause painful problems for Florida mattress store

A mattress-liquidation store in Orange City, Florida, has been dealing with an infestation of tussock caterpillars, which have been driving off customers who have received painful stings.

General manager Martin Saumur said the caterpillars recently started showing up en masse.

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“Last week it was, like, thousands of them,” he said. “My whole back was all bitten up and it was all itchy all over the place.”

Saumur has seen customers come to the door and balk at the sight of the caterpillars.

“They were coming to the door and as soon as they were ready to grab the door handle they would back away and walk away,” he said. “I would catch them by the other door, but I’m sure I lost some customers.”

Scientists believe the mild winter may have contributed to the increase in tussock caterpillars.

The problem should resolve itself as the caterpillars turn to moths in coming weeks.

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