The Bug Lady by Dagan Teague

What’s up with these “MOTHS’

Some more news there has been several phone calls about a moth problem. As you all may know we had infestations of Army Cutworms in wheat and alfalfa fields this spring. The larvae are now entering the pupal stage and will be emerging soon as adults. They prefer to fly at night and seek shelter in the day. If houses are sealed up well then moths can end up in the house. Do not leave your truck windows down. Some people say that a bowl of water and a little dish soap can be left under a porch light. The moths come to the light and contact the water where the dish soap has eliminated the surface tension so the moths sink and drown. This is true, but it won’t really reduce the number of moths.

The two biggest complaints about the moths is they keep people from sleeping because the moths flying around, and because the oils from their bodies stain draperies and furniture.

“Miller moth” is a generic term that refers to several moth species that fly in large numbers and create a nuisance. Here on the High Plains the Millers are usually the army cutworm. The adults that fly in a few weeks will spend some time feeding on plant nectar. As summer wanes the surviving moths will begin migrating back to Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. Females will lay as many as 1,000 eggs in the fall on wheat, alfalfa, various weeds and even turfgrass. The eggs will hatch and overwinter. Larval development in the spring is slow because it is cold, and insect metabolism is very slow when it is cold. Eventually though they will become fully grown, pupate, and next year’s moths will emerge.

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For more info conontact Dagan Teague IPM Agent, at [email protected] or call 361-494- 7075.

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