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Get Ready Colorado Transplants, It’s Miller Moth Season

KUNC Composite Illustration

Recent Colorado transplants might be in for a surprise this summer: The return of the miller moth.

Common to the state, the pests have been relatively under the radar for the past four years, said Whitney Cranshaw, a professor of entomology and extension specialist at Colorado State University.

But this year they'll be much more noticeable — and possibly a little scary to those new to the state.

"If somebody has just moved to Colorado in the last four years, they have no idea what these will be," Cranshaw said. "Because there's nothing like the annual flight of the army cutworm."

Credit Graham Dixon / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
What we commonly call the 'miller moth' is the adult version of the army cutworm.

The adult stage of the army cutworm, miller moths are more of a nuisance than anything else. The pests are known for leaving a trail of dust in their wake, along with surprising people by flying out from behind curtains, doorways and anywhere else they decide to momentarily settle.

In addition to larger numbers in general, Cranshaw says the moths will be more centralized thanks to recent drought conditions and a mid-April freeze.

"Since these moths are trying to find nectar, they are going to be concentrated where there's flowers," he said. "And that's irrigated landscapes; that's your yard."

Miller moth season in Colorado typically begins in mid-May and lasts about six weeks.

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.
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