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Yearly migration of miller moths has hit southern Colorado

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Posted at 9:47 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 17:52:27-04

SOUTHERN COLORADO — The annual arrival of miller moths to southern Colorado is upon us, yet this year's migration comes ahead of schedule.

Miller moths are here early this year, and scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) say that it is partly due to milder temperatures and a lack of moisture.

According to CSU's website, Miller moths migrate to find summer flowers that provide them with nectar as a source of food. What makes Colorado a "hot spot" for these moths is the cooler temperature with higher elevations, giving the moths a chance to conserve energy and live longer. With the warmer temperatures sweeping through Colorado, scientists predict this could help speed the miller moths' migration process.

Rebecca McClain, a Colorado Springs resident, says she has dealt with these moths a dozen times before.

"There have been times where almost clouds have been in the kitchen," said McClain. "I'm not leaving the back door open, they just get in, they just get in."

Miller moths generally linger for five to six weeks during mid-May to early June. They avoid daylight and seek shelter before the sun streams in, which is why they are found in cracks in doorways, garages, and cars. Because these cracks tend to lead to indoors, moths tend to sneak into homes or cars to avoid sunlight. During the night, the moths are able to come out of hiding and continue their migration and feeding.

To help prevent miller moths from entering your home, ensure that all doorways and openings are sealed tight, particularly around windows, doors, garages, and car doors. Reduce the lighting at night, including turning off unnecessary lights or substituting non-attractive yellow lights.

CSU says landscaping may have an affect on the number of miller moths depending on the food it provides and the shelter readily available.

"Some of the flowering plants most readily visited by miller moths along the Front Range include lilac, cherries, spirea, cotoneaster, horsechestnut, raspberry, and Russian olive. Dark, dense plants such as cotoneaster shrubs, spruce, and pines will be used most often as shelter by miller moths."

If the miller moths do enter your home, it is best to swat, vacuum them, or lure them into traps. For more information regarding miller moths, go to CSU's website here.