Warmer-than-normal temps lead to more moths
Some moths like it hot. OK, all of them do. That's why Fargo-Moorhead might as well be one big porch light until the first frost hits. Strong southerly winds and warmer than normal fall temperatures have led to a larger number of black moths in t...
Some moths like it hot.
OK, all of them do.
That's why Fargo-Moorhead might as well be one big porch light until the first frost hits.
Strong southerly winds and warmer than normal fall temperatures have led to a larger number of black moths in the area this year, according to North Dakota State University entomologists.
Instead of becoming dormant with the cold weather, the moths are continuing their life cycle and emerging, said Janet Knodel, NDSU Extension Service entomologist.
"We've had an unusually warm fall ... and that's probably why we're seeing them this late in the year," Knodel said.
The moths will die when cold weather hits, she said.
Gerry Fauske, collection manager in entomology at NDSU, said he has seen more black moths this year than any other in his 24-year history at the university.
This year the noctuidae family likely introduced two generations of black moths to the area as opposed to one, he added.
Fauske recently took a video of the moths gathering near his porch light, which would normally attract about five black moths, he said.
"I quit counting at just over 100," Fauske said.
Black moths are different than most other moths because they have solidly colored wings. Most other moths' hind wings are more translucent or paler in color, Fauske said.
Male black moths are also significantly smaller than female black moths, he said.
"If you see them side by side they are different enough to look like different species," Fauske added.
The species can be a potential crop pest, especially in the southern United States where they are routinely sprayed for, Fauske said.
About black moths
- Black moths, or green cloverworm moths, are a cold-blooded species and members of the noctuidae family.
- Their distinctive characteristics include a long snout and front and hind wings that are very dark black and gray.
- The moths are not uncommon in the area and are present all summer long, however the number spotted this year is uncommon.
Source: Gerry Fauske, collection manager in entomology at NDSU
Forum reporter Dave Roepke contributed to this report.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541