What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

big brownish-reddish moth
April 9, 2010
HELP! I have 15 of these big, ugly brownish-reddish colored moth looking flying insects swarming my front porch!! Three of them are dead, which makes me happy. They’re fuzzy. I’m not very good with adjectives! I can’t even leave my house right now!!!! Please, please PLEASE help me!!!!
with a pen?
Slidell, LA

Oakworm Moth

Dear with a pen?
With a keyboard might be more appropriate since this is an electronic communication, and there is no ink.  This is an Oakworm Moth in the genus Anisota.  BugGuide lists at least three species that range in Louisiana.

Ed. Note:
We got the following response, which saddened us to the point we could not even respond any further.  The intolerance and arrogance some people feel toward the natural world positively appalls us.

Ahhh, but you can not sign something on a computer, so why ask? =) Maybe it should have said “What name would you like to be called?” =) And to prove that I am, in fact, a human, it asked what color is grass. I typed brown because I haven’t seen green grass in quite awhile. Thank you very much for answering my question! Do they normally swarm like that? That was INSANE! 3 of the stupid things died after flying into the windows enough times. The rest took ant and roach killer and a big foot. Now we need a pressure washer to get the yellow guts off of the concrete. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for answering my question! I wasn’t sure y’all would answer since it wasn’t any sort of exotic bug =)  -Jennifer

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

8 Responses to Oakworm Moth and subsequent tragedy

  1. Aariq says:

    Have you tried turning the porch light off? Many insects are attracted to lights. I bet the swarm would go away if you just turned the light off. It would save you some on your electric bill too!

  2. Dave says:

    Hi Daniel and Lisa-Anne,

    I sympathize with your sadness at the stupidity of the response. Yet most of your readership is basically ‘pro-bug,’ and you have helped many through their phobias. Try to focus on the positive, since you can’t reach everyone.

    Best,

    Dave

  3. Muhnazer says:

    That oakworm moth isn’t ugly it’s beautiful. And so very fuzzy. You should have told them to come to our place, my grandma, little cousin, and I would have loved to have them on our porch.

  4. Captain America says:

    I’ll be honest here. The blatant stupidity of the posters insulting the woman who made the original post is probably one of the more pathetic bits of the internet I’ve had the displeasure of viewing.

    Let’s take a peek at the ‘Oakworm moth’ now, shall we?

    It’s red. It’s fuzzy. It looks cute. Wonderful reason to allow it to spread like wildfire, no? No…

    The Oakworm moth is considered a pest species in forests, as it is responsible for untimely defoliation which at points of the year could harm the trees; a solid population of 15 of these moths indicates a big risk to the trees in the area. It’s an “outbreak” and many conservation departments would react by spraying the moths with arsenic-based pesticides, which as you probably know would harm more than just the targeted moths.

    These creatures were in the woman’s house. Her actions were more benficial to the ecosystem than the future actions of the conservation department, done out of fear or not.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your perspective.

    • bugman says:

      Dear Captain America,
      WE have been thinking about your comment and we would like to offer another perspective. The Oakworm Moth is a native species and the trees it feeds upon are also native species. The Oakworm Moth also has natural predators that benefit from its presence. Often the population of insects fluctuates from year to year because of various circumstances and during years that they are plentiful, they eat more, and consequently, they provide more food for their natural predators. It would be silly to think of the Periodical Cicada as a pest during the years that it emerges, because though it feeds on plants and causes some damage, it also provides a bounty of food for birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, arachnids and other insects that take advantage of the population explosion. The same could also be said of the Oakworm Moth and its caterpillar.

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