Moth swarms in South Dakota part of early summer, will return in less numbers by fall
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Finding holes in your clothes or unwanted visitors flying around? Moths might be to blame.
Army cutworms, also known as miller moths, have a one-year life cycle that takes them to the Rockies and back. After emerging from the ground in winter they migrate west to feed. South Dakota is on a northern part of their route, accommodating for the increase in sightings.
“So this is the peak for that late spring, early summer when they are migrating west.” Entomology Field Specialist for the SDSU Extension Rapid City Regional Center Patrick Wagner said. “Then they will all move out and we will not see them for a while until this fall. And it will not be quite as many of them, but we will have whatever survived that trip to the Rockies and back and they will lay eggs. So, we might see another little uptick in them in September and October.”
Miller moths tend to lay eggs in areas where lots of winter weeds and foliage are, which can create problems for farmers growing winter crops.
And though them entering homes seems inevitable, steps such as sealing doors and windows can help cut down the amount of unwelcome guests.
“Turn off lights that are on at night. Maybe shut those off or if you have a switch or something, keep those outdoor lights off because that is what is going to really attract them. At night they will just swarm to them and then they will try to get inside because it might get a little cooler and they will move in,” Wagner said. “A temporary nuisance and then they are going to move out of here pretty soon.”