Scottsbluff and the surrounding areas have been inundated with little white moths recently.
The moths commonly known as snout-nosed moths are actually two varieties said Dr. Jeff Bradshaw, entomologist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.
“What we are seeing looks to be a mix of a couple of species, the common grass veneer and the sod webworm moth, both about the same size look and pretty similar,” he said.
The common grass veneer has a darker color with striping on it and the sod webworm is a bland white color. He said neither is a pest to crops, but the sod webworm can be a pest of turf. The moth has two generations a year and right now the second generation is the one out and fluttering about.
“The adult moths mate and lay eggs on turf or other grasses, they begin developing in the fall and over the winter, as larvae,” Bradshaw said.
The adult moths don’t feed and if they do it’s on nectar and present no harm to plants at this stage.
The moths large number of moths Bradshaw said we are seeing now is probably due to a wet and cool spring.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve broken our drought, but we definitely, in the last two years have seen a relaxing of it,” he said. “We’ve had some wetter springs, cooler springs, which in turn has really improved a lot of our grass species in the range lands and yards and contributed to a pretty good food source for these insects.”
Both species are attracted to light, he said. So the predominance of them around business lights and house lights, make them a nuisance.
He doesn’t suggest spraying for the insects, but people can vacuum them up if they get inside.
“The sod webworm moths presence will indicate that you probably want to stay vigilant next year on your turf in the spring to scout for the larvae of that insect and take appropriate actions,” Bradshaw said.