SMITHFIELD, R.I. — A furry pest is causing big problems for Rhode Islanders.

WPRI-TV reports ( ) that some people who come into contact with gypsy moth caterpillars are developing rashes. The Northeast District Department of Health has released a memo educating residents on the insects.

Experts say the caterpillars’ hair causes skin irritations. Reactions include rashes and blisters in some cases. Doctors say topical creams can help treat the condition.

State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan says the officials should do something about the insects.

The state Department of Environmental Management says they have no plans to spray in the state because the caterpillars don’t pose a public health threat.

Information from: WPRI-TV,

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