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Why Wyoming Has So Many Miller Moths

Ben Sale

If you're dealing with a miller moth invasion in your home or backyard, you're not alone. People from Colorado to Montana have noticed a larger number of the moths than usual this year.

Scott Schell, University of Wyoming Extension Entomology Specialist, said the moths are drawn to flowers and light. Schell explained the moth population is high this year, and there haven't been a lot of flowers on the prairie so the insects are more likely to come into town.

Although a lot of people may find the millers annoying, Schell said they are good for the environment.

"The adult moths are harmless," said Schell. "You could actually even consider them beneficial in the big picture of things because [by] feeding on flowers they do pollinate flowers and they end up providing a lot of food to wildlife."

Schell said that animals like birds and grizzly bears like to snack on the moths.

He also said that they will continue their migration, likely heading for the mountains and out of your hair by the end of the month.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.

Ashley is a PhD student in Astronomy and Physics at UW. She loves to communicate science and does so with WPM, on the Astrobites blog, and through outreach events. She was born in Colorado and got her BS in Engineering Physics at Colorado School of Mines. Ashley loves hiking and backpacking during Wyoming days and the clear starry skies at night!
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