Merin was holding the ladder for me, when she brushed up against these caterpillars and noticed that the little bastards had envenomated her.
So I did what any responsible older brother would do. I cut off the three leaves that held 50 of the evil creatures, put them on top of a pile of kerosene-soaked paper towels, and we sent them back to the sulphorous pits from whence they came. It was a Viking style pyre, honoring these worthy adversaries as they burned.
(taken with Merin's A1304AT).
I remember watching a program on the Discovery Channel about these critters, and the effects of their toxins on humans. The lady on the program who got stung went into anaphylactic shock, and her pulmonary system shut down causing her to go into cardiac arrest. Merin just got a nasty rash with a burning sensation, probably because she took Benadryl right after getting stung (Thanks Mika!).
Was it wrong to kill these caterpillars? I don't think so because my neighbor regularly brushes up against those leaves when she tends her garden, and there are plenty more of them in the upper canopy that are doing quite fine. I think she'll be happy that they're gone. Was it really necessary to burn them? Yes, yes it was. They inflicted a burning sensation, so it was only fair for them to feel the burn for themselves.