Moths Invade Northern Nevada

RENO, NV - They're invading northern Nevada by the hundreds, landing on your porch and around your home. Now, many are concerned over the rising number of moths across the region. The good news is they're not harmful, just a nuisance. The problem gets worse as you get closer to the desert. There's not much you can do, but there are ways to keep them from bugging you.

They've taken over and have overstayed their welcome. You'll find them fluttering outside your home and climate is to blame.

"The mild winter coupled with the drought probably helped increase the population where not as many that would have died in the cold, survive," said Jeff Knight, state entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

They're called army cutworms, more commonly known as miller moths and they're native to Nevada. They're also vegetarians, so that means they don't carry diseases that can harm animals or humans.

"They're probably there because it's cooler, maybe moisture sources and definitely nectar sources because that's what they're looking for on their migration to the mountains," said Knight.

Now, the moths are lingering and many residents have had enough. Some have sought out hardware stores to find answers, but don't waste your money on pesticides.

"If it's going to kill them, it's going to kill you. There are some stuff you can spray, but a lot of questions I get are if they're not discriminate," said Lucas Harris of Carter Bros. Ace Hardware.

The fact is pesticides will just kill other pollinators and since there are a large number of moths, they'll just be back the next day.

"Change the color of the bulb to either yellow or amber color and that will reduce the number of moths coming in," said Knight.

Knight says he best thing you can do is to let nature take its course.

"99.9% of them will get eaten by birds, lizards, spiders, all the things out there," he said. "We've had some reports of birds out there absolutely feasting on these things right now."

Knight also says, if they get in your home, you can also try spraying cedar wood-scented spray or suck them up with a vacuum. Your best option is to wait it out; they should be gone in the next 7 to 10 days.


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