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Don Day: Prepare to Be Annoyed, Miller Moths Are Coming Back

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Don Day walked into his office on Monday and was hit in the face by a miller moth.

On one hand, he was grateful, because they seem to late in hatching this year to annoy Wyomingites. On the other hand, they’re back.

Although Day isn’t a bug expert, he did tell Cowboy State Daily he thinks the moths are hatching later this year due to the colder spring the state and western U.S have been experiencing.

“From my very unscientific study so far, people around the state are just beginning to see them hatch,” he said.

The miller moth is the adult stage of the army cutworm, which is common in Wyoming and surrounding states. The moths are attracted to certain types of light, as they use the moon and other celestial lights to guide them on their flights.

Since Day just saw his first moth on Monday, he has been asking listeners of his weather podcast to send in reports of their miller sightings to podcast@dayweather.com. This week so far, he’s heard reports of miller sightings from Lander, Thermopolis and Fort Bridger.

“Usually it’s the end of May and into June when they’re coming around, but it does seem a little later this year due to the cool weather we’ve had,” Day said.

He couldn’t say whether Wyoming and other western states would experience the massive influx of moths like last summer, though. Day noted some of the other large invasions of moths occurred in 1991 and 2002, so maybe Wyoming will be lucky enough to avoid a major infestation this year.

Thankfully, the moths are just annoying, not destructive.

Day said he set up a moth trap last year that consisted of a bucket of soapy water placed next to a single-bulb lamp. The moths will be attracted to the light and then fall into the soapy water, where they will ultimately die.

“We were having a body count of 15 to 30 a night,” Day said. “I think they’re so annoying because of the volume and they’re so sneaky. You can do everything to keep them out, and then you’ll find some inside your house.”

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