The winter moths are back

by susan on December 1, 2010

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Have you noticed? I came home last night to find a crowd of the small brown moths gathered around our outside light.

We saw them in Southborough last year, too, but the winter moth is a relatively new pest in our area. It’s more common on the Cape and in eastern Mass, but has been making a march westward. The moths start appearing around Thanksgiving, and can hang around into December and even January when the weather is mild like it has been this year.

The Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Blog has an interesting write-up on the moths:

Moths you see in flight are always males; female winter moths are practically wingless and spend their days on tree trunks, house foundations, or other surfaces, waiting for a mate. While winter moths can be a nuisance when they cluster around homes in large numbers, they do their real damage as small green caterpillars, attacking cherry, crabapple and other trees in early spring and often completely defoliating them.

This fact sheet from UMass has some tips on limiting caterpillar damage in the spring, although from the sounds of it there isn’t a whole lot you can do.

Have you noticed the moths around your house?

1 nancy December 1, 2010 at 3:53 PM

as a matter of fact, yes!!! mostly on the studio doors, at night. I thought it was because of the light, but was thinking it was strange that there were so many this late in the fall!

2 Jim December 1, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Hi,

Are there any lures to catch them? I recall there were several effective gypsy moth traps.

Thanks

3 Marge Coldwell December 1, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Saw them fluttering across the road in my headlights this morning.

4 Tricia December 3, 2010 at 2:25 PM

thank you for posting this…
Noticed tons this week after dark on the roads.. Also I have what looks like hundreds on our garage around the light fixture..
“they do their real damage as small green caterpillars, attacking cherry, crabapple and other trees in early spring and often completely defoliating them.” We experienced this last spring with our swamp maple !!

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