Uhm, has anyone else noticed an almost scary amount of moths within the past few days? I've only lived here a year--is this typical? I opened the door to let the dog out this morning and thre were a slew of them right by the door, and inside the screen door. Scared the hell out of me.
Thanks for all the feedback. I know they're harmless, but there is still something slightly Hitchockian about them....
My friend said that they came to the city in force in search of water b/c it's too dry in the mountains--is this true? If so, it's going to be a hot, dry summer. Which makes me very, very sad.
krista, the csu article I linked above mentions that drought might cause the moths to seek irrigated landscapes and the concurrent abundance of flowering plants during their migration. however, the info is about colorado, so I'm not 100% sure that it's all applicable here.
I heard they will be migrating to cooler areas. So they should head up to the mountains, though it might take some time.
They definitely made it East of Tramway this weekend.
If a door gets left open and we are inundated with moths, I have found that they are VERY good at seeking the light. So I turn on an outside light and turn off everything inside and the vast majority make it outside in a very short time.
The only downside to these moths arriving in such numbers (and I have seen this a few times here – it does seem to be a cyclical event, though drought could play a role as well) is that they lay eggs in the ground that develop in their next phase as cutworms. Cutworms will crawl across the surface of the soil and chew the tiny, soft stems of recently emerged seedlings. Ok if they are elm seedlings, I suppose, but not so great if they are your summer garden. Once the stems get a bit larger, the cutworms can’t bite through the stem, but when plants are very young they can do some significant damage. The best solution I have found is putting little collars of things like toilet paper rolls or milk cartons in the ground, around the seedlings. 1 inch below and 1 inch above and they can’t get to the plants. Again, when the plants mature a bit, they are safe and you can remove the worm guards.
Other than that, they are simply a nuisance, but nothing I care to do anything about beyond keeping my doors shut.
I do remember one year I left my car windows down when we had another infestation like this. I went for a drive at night without noticing and boy was that a mistake. They all started flying around inside the car and I must have been a sight to see, flailing around and trying to see without crashing. So many moths!!