Subject: Weird gray bug and its eggs
Location: Gastonia, NC
January 16, 2016 12:37 pm
I’ve been finding these strange gray bugs on the exterior of my hard-coat stucco home. They’re easy to kill/knock off and don’t seem to fly, but they’re super annoying because they keep coming back and laying these hard egg things (which I also destroy).
This is a flightless female moth in the family Geometridae, and there are several genera in the family with flightless females. Our first thought is this might be a Winter Moth, Operophtera brumata, and though it looks similar to this BugGuide image, BugGuide does not report them as far south as North Carolina. Another possibility is the Woolly Gray, Lycia ypsilon, and it is found in nearby South Carolina according to BugGuide, but there are no images of the female or the eggs there. The closest visual match to your moth we can find is the female Fall Cankerworm Moth, Alsophila pometaria, and according to BugGuide they are active “Fall through early winter” but the eggs pictured on BugGuide look very different from your eggs. Pest Control Canada has an image identified as the Fall Cankerworm, but again, the eggs of that species look different. So, while we are confident this is a flightless, female Geometrid Moth, we cannot identify the species for certain. The Moth Photographers Group has a nice page devoted to flightless female moths.
Thanks so much for your response! I’m glad they’re just moths.