Currently viewing the category: "Ermine Moths"
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Subject: A bug with a mosaic back
Location: Northwest
May 11, 2015 4:03 am
This was an interesting bug I found last night in my bedroom I live in Indiana and it is in its 80s right now and very humid.
Signature: Savannah

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Dear Savannah,
This pretty little moth is an Ailanthus Webworm.  The caterpillars of this native species have adapted to feeding on the leaves of the invasive, introduced Tree of Heaven,
Ailanthus altissima.

Christy Harris, Amy Gosch, Kitty Heidih, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Sue Dougherty, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown insect
Location: Conway, SC
November 4, 2014 6:24 am
Curious as to what insect this is. I discovered it in my meyer lemon tree in Conway, SC.
Signature: ?

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Dear ?,
This is a moth known as an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, and though it is an Ermine Moth native to North America, it has adapted to feeding on the leaves of the invasive, exotic Tree of Heaven while in the caterpillar stage.  This Ailanthus Webworm poses no threat to your Meyer lemon tree, and it might even assist in pollination, though we believe Honey Bees do a good job in that process.

Thank you so much! Your knowledge and fast response is greatly appreciated. Thank you again,
Jim Sambroak

Sue Dougherty liked this post
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Subject: What is this???
Location: South jersey
August 16, 2014 9:00 pm
Never saw this thing before…
Signature: Rob

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Hi Rob,
This is a moth known as an Ailanthus Webworm.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird bug
Location: Pennsylvania
July 20, 2014 12:02 pm
Found this bug on my house in northeast Pennsylvania in the summertime. Any idea what it may be?
Signature: Shannon

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Dear Shannon,
This pretty native Ermine Moth is commonly called an Ailanthus Webworm.  It is one of the few insects known to feed on the invasive, exotic Tree of Heaven,
Ailanthus altissimus, which is recognized on the government website Weeds Gone Wild as being a major threat with this statement:  “Tree of heaven is reported to be invasive in natural areas in 30 states across continental U.S. and Hawaii. It is highly adaptable to disturbance and a huge range of soil types and conditions, grows best in full sun and is tolerant of drought.  Ecological Threat  A common tree in urban areas where it causes damage to sewers and structures, ailanthus poses a greater threat to agriculture and natural ecosystems. It is a vigorous growing tree and prolific seeder that establishes dense stands that push out natives. Tree of heaven contains chemicals, including ailanthone, that have been found to have strong allelopathic (herbicidal) affects on the growth of other plants which help it establish and spread.”  Though the native Ailanthus Webworm has adapted to feeding on an invasive plant, it is doubtful that the Ailanthus Webworm will have much of an impact on controlling the spread of the scourge.

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Subject: Beetle colored like a flower
Location: Occoquan, Virginia
July 8, 2014 9:45 pm
Hello i noticed this interestingly colored Beetle on the side of my sliding glass door frame near the outdoor light. I have never seen this species before. It has a beautiful floral looking pattern. I have no idea if that is his wing pattern or body color. I did not want to disturb it. It was there in the morning and stayed all day. I’m figuring it is a Nocturnal species. Any help in Identification would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Signature: Mr. Joe Shukay

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Hi Joe,
This Ailanthus Webworm is a moth, not a beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Virginia
July 3, 2014 7:36 pm
Hi!
Just wondering what this was. Thought the coloring was awesome and it struck my curiosity. Our back yard is wooded and when opening the door to let our dog in and out moths and fireflies usually sneak in, however this is the first bug I’ve seen colored like this! Here is a photo of it on my bathroom mirror
Thanks!
Signature: Kim

Ailanthus Webworm

Ailanthus Webworm

Hi Kim,
This pretty little moth is an Ailanthus Webworm.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination