Thursday, December 01, 2016

Fall Cankerworm Moth Activity


             Last Sunday, November 27, I took this video. At that time there were hundreds of these little moths flitting about. They are Fall Cankerworm Moths that breed in the late fall, overwinter as eggs, and then hatch out in the spring.

             On Monday the 28th I saw 105 moths as I walked the dog in the evening which is many, many less than I saw on the Sunday. Tuesday the 29th I only saw 67. Wednesday, the count was 35. This evening, Thursday, December 1, I only saw 1. Temperatures have been cool and we have had a couple of overnight frosts but nothing compared to earlier in November. The only real difference there has been in the weather has been a couple of overnight rains.

            I tried many times, during November, to get a photo of the moths but they kept moving and flitting about most of the time and when they landed they seemed to disappear. Finally, after a small snowfall, I was able to find one cold enough that it did not fly right away and was east to see against the snow.


            After a bit of internet research, I found out why there were so many moths flitting about. They were all males looking for females. The females develop without wings and do not move very much so the males have to keep looking, and smelling, to find the females. I was very lucky, after doing the research, to find a female below the many males seen in the video. She was in the mulch pile and just moved enough to catch my eye.

            Yes, she is quite small and hard to find.

1 comment:

Jenn Jilks said...

Good for you! Did you get snow? They need a blanket to protect them!