A miller moth "plague" to add to the beauty of 2020 ...
Insect experts at Colorado State University (CSU) say that there will be more miller moths on the Front Range than usual this summer.
I don't know about you, but I remember a particular Colorado summer in the '90s when moths swarmed the state, and we found crunchy carcasses of moths disintegrating in our window sills for months afterward. If it's anything like that, we're in for it.
"Following four straight years of below-average numbers of miller moths in eastern Colorado, this insect will be noticeably more abundant this recent year," Whitney Cranshaw and Frank Peairs extension entomologists at CSU, wrote in a report.
Miller moths' annual migration from the Eastern Plains to the Rocky Mountains started a little earlier than normal this month. They were first detected in early May, when in 2019, they weren't seen migrating until the end of the month.
So why this year? Cranshaw and Peairs explained that our drier conditions from fall until now have resulted in fewer blooming flowers overall. This makes our homes and gardens a target, drawing moths to the nectar. The peak of the outbreak will last about five to six weeks, starting around now, but depending on moisture and warmth in the region, the migration could be shorter. (Warmth generally means they keep moving, where cold and moisture lure them to stay).
Officially called "army cutworms" (Euxoa auxiliaris), the miller moths have already done damage to crops in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas.
You can read CSU's full press release here.
What do you think? Do you remember having a bad miller moth year in the past? What are your tips for getting rid of them? Tell us in the comments!