What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Salt Marsh Moth
Location: Pflugerville, Texas
January 2, 2011 5:17 pm
I found a salt marsh moth in my bag of microbes that I use for my compost. It just hatched from its cocoon inside this moist, warm environment. They are not supposed to hatch until spring from what I understand. What should I do with it? Think it is a male. Put it outside last night. Found it this morning, hadn’t moved, thought it was dead. I brought it in, after an hour it started to walk around. Put it back outside and it did the same thing. It is now inside in a box. What should I do with it? Can it live in a cage until warmer months? Is it too cold to release it? Thank you very much. I do not have an image as of now, but it is white with black spots and a bit of yellow underneath leading me to believe it is a male.
Signature: Nicole

Salt Marsh Moth

Dear Nicole,
Despite years of study, we cannot claim to know more about what insects need to survive than they know about themselves.  Our climate is changing and there is only so much we humans are able to do regarding our own contributions in the global changes that are already set into motion.  If there is a freeze this moth may not survive, but since it was in a “moist, warm environment” it may have been able to survive, but since the Salt Marsh Moth does not eat as an adult, once it begins to fly, it expends its stored energy (fat accumulated as a caterpillar) and its life battery will dwindle.  Built into their own instincts to survive, individuals of various insect species reach maturity at different times, and those that mature when the conditions are correct may find a mate and procreate.  Adult Tiger Moths, though they fly, are not terribly active moths.  Individuals of a related species, the Painted Tiger Moth, are attracted to our porch light each year and often remain without moving for a week or even more.  Alas, we are unable to predict what the future holds for your Salt Marsh Moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Texas
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