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Mothpocalypse

news@dailylobo.com

A swarm of miller moths (that’s miller, not killer) invaded Albuquerque this week after army cutworm cocoons in the bosque and surrounding areas hatched.

Albuquerque resident Renee Saavedra said she thought she was in a horror movie after she opened the shed on her property.

“I needed to get a shovel for some spring gardening and so I went to my shed that I haven’t opened in a long time and when I opened the door, probably 50 moths went everywhere,” she said. “I’m not normally the type to be scared of bugs, but it was totally freaky. Take that combined with the fact that the manure I had been storing in the shed got wet and smelled like a dead body, and I think anyone can understand my fear.”

But residents need not fear their flying friends. According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America website, moths are members of the butterfly family and are harmless to humans. Moths migrate to cooler temperatures annually, and should leave the Albuquerque area in two to three weeks. According to an article published by Colorado State University, during this migratory period the moths will not eat. Residents should not be worried holes in their clothing because miller moths do not eat fabric, although they can leave stains.

The article recommends closing screens and reducing light in and around your house at night to avoid attracting moths to areas where they could potentially enter the home. Bug zappers can also be used to kill moths around your house, or a bowl of soapy water near a light source can trap and kill unwanted moths.

Director of the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program Kim Eichhorst said this year’s increased moth population was brought on by a warm winter and an early abundance of moisture.

“It happens as long as the conditions are right, like when there’s enough rain,” she said. “It’s called an outbreak because there are many more moths here than usual. It happens (every) several years when we have more moisture than usual.”

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the last Mothpocalypse was in 2003.

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