Hawaii agriculture officials are asking for the public’s help in spotting infestations of the stinging nettle caterpillar, which appears to have recently spread to Kauai.
The state Department of Agriculture said Wednesday Kauai residents may begin to see more of the bugs during the summer, the peak months for the species.
The Big Island, Maui, and Oahu already have established populations of the caterpillar, which carries a painful sting.
Last August, a Kauai plant nursery owner found one and turned it in to the agency’s plant quarantine branch. The department has since found adult moths in Wailua, Kapaa and Kilauea.
The caterpillar is white and has a long stripe running down its back. Those allergic to the bug may have difficulty breathing or develop other serious symptoms after being stung.