Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Hickory and I were lounging on a deck when we spotted a bright bug crawling over the nearby flowers. We thought it was a beetle, but when Hickory nosed it, it flew off, more like a wasp.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

It wasn’t hard to find–it’s an Ailanthus Webworm Moth. Ms. Flora immediately recognized the first part of the name: “That’s the genus of the Tree of Heaven,” she chittered at us.

Well that was interesting and when I looked into it, it’s not a coincidence; scientists did rename the moth because it likes to eat the leaves of the Ailanthus altissimo, which isn’t from North America, and neither is the moth from our area of the mid-Atlantic. They come from warmer climates to the south and really only are seen here in the summertime, when they can feast on the Tree of Heaven leaves. The webworm part of it’s name is because the larvae bind themselves a little home with webbing between leaves, then proceed to eat all they can within it.

The moth landed again, and Hickory flicked his tail in its direction. “Heh, you certainly aren’t resting up to store your winter’s food supply.”


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