Serving the High Plains

Miller moth season won't last much longer

CLOVIS - In the words of Patrick Kircher, the agriculture agent for Roosevelt County: "They are really obnoxious and troublesome."

And it's likely you have some in your house right now.

The flutterbugs that are invading eastern New Mexico are called army cutworms. In their adult stage, they're more commonly known as miller moths.

"Cutworms have been early season pests in New Mexico, becoming active when soil temperatures are above 40 ... The adult moth lays eggs in elongated clusters of 60 to 200 eggs on stems, fence posts and buildings," according to a New Mexico State ag publication.

Kircher said the insects can be quite ravenous. While they may cause some disruption in our homes, Kircher said they don't help our agriculture much, either.

"They do a lot of damage in wheat and alfalfa and will move into other grain crops as well," Kircher said.

Mason Grau, the agriculture agent for Curry County, said even with the influx of moths in the area, he doesn't think it compares to the numbers eastern New Mexico saw in 2020.

"Their population numbers are pretty (mild in comparison)," Grau said.

Officials said we have about two more weeks of the pests before they mostly take off for the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, they'll come back next year.

So, what can you do to help control them in your house?

Kircher suggests making sure all of the doors are closed and windows are sealed properly. And keep the lights turned off since they're attracted to light.

But if you have miller moth murder in your heart, a single light can draw them into one specific area - where they can be easily vacuumed.

Grau has a different suggestion for miller moth control.

"You can put a small light bulb over a bowl of soapy water. And that usually attracts them to that light there," he said. The moths will more than likely get stuck in the water and can't get out.