What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: luna moth release
January 12, 2015 1:05 pm
Hello Mr. Daniel Marlos,
My sister, Louise  has been releasing Luna moths into the wild as part of an annual event called “A Midsummer Night’s Garden” at her greenhouse Auburn Pointe, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.   After only 3-4 years her neighbors started reporting Luna moth sightings on their screen windows.  My dad even spotted one at his house which is 20+ miles away.
The event is 2 weekends, check website, usually the last weekend in July/first weekend in August.  auburnpointegreenhouse.com.  Please join us for this spectacular event!
My sister, single-handedly is successfully reintroducing Luna moths into the wild with great success.  You could try this in your own backyard!
Signature: Anne Reiling

Mating Luna Moths (from our archives)

Mating Luna Moths (from our archives)

Dear Anne,
Thanks so much for relaying information about this wonderful program.  We are sure our readers will be very interested.  We removed your telephone number from the message you sent as a courtesy.  Please let us know if you want to be contacted by phone and we will include the telephone number.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

16 Responses to Reintroduction of Luna Moths in Ohio

  1. I lived 7 miles from that greenhouse in the early ’90s. Lunas were in the area then. I have a couple Lepidoptera friends who have lived in Chagrin Falls 30 years. I met them in 2009 and they had no problems attracting lunas then, before, or since.

    Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of someone “reintroducing” moths into Ohio that were not missing in the first place. They buy them off the Internet from wherever and then stick them in Ohio, not realizing that there are regional differences. We had one extreme example where an individual created a dead zone by releasing thousands each year. Took over the gene pool and the inbreeding eliminated them in the area for a time (calling females would attract zero males).

    People believe they’re helping but they don’t put the time in to really know their subject. Sad example are cecropias in Ontario, Canada. Native cecropias there mate in the evening. The theory is they evolved that way because it was too cold for cecropias to fly in the early morning like most cecropias. Now the “helpers” are releasing internet cecropias into the area. With the warmer temps in the area, it remains to be seen how the situation will turn out.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your perspective Kevin. Native gene pools are often adapted to location specific conditions. Your point is well taken.

      • tina says:

        I live in defiance Ohio , I have pics of one , I never seen one before , so Anne what your doing is grate your east Ohio and I am west Ohio so they make it all this way 🙂

  2. I personally have seen one of these in my yard .. they are beautiful.. the problem is,… the neighbor had cut down 98% of her tulip trees, i have read this is their preferred tree, but what other trees do they prefer?

    • This is an excellent example of a regional difference. I planted a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) to be one of my hostplants for luna moth caterpillars. Unfortunately, I ended up learning the luna moth cats in my area will not eat the leaves.

      Sweetgum is the one tree I’ve never heard about lunas rejecting. I’ve also raised them on black walnut, paper birch, and pin oak. They are polyphagous, which means they eat a lot of other trees too.

      Luna cocoons are found on the ground amongst your fall leaves. Something to think about when deciding what to do with your leaves or when planning your landscaping.

    • This is an excellent example of a regional difference. I planted a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) to be one of my hostplants for luna moth caterpillars. Unfortunately, I ended up learning the luna moth cats in my area will not eat the leaves.

      Sweetgum is the one tree I’ve never heard about lunas rejecting. I’ve also raised them on black walnut, paper birch, and pin oak. They are polyphagous, which means they eat a lot of other trees too.

      Luna cocoons are found on the ground amongst your fall leaves. Something to think about when deciding what to do with your leaves or when planning your landscaping.

    • I did not know their cocoons fell to the ground, makes me sad now to know the possibility of how many may have been lost.. on my property however, I have many tulip trees, one appears to be at least 100 years if not older..I have only seen that one luna in my area.. im sure there may be more.. 😉

    • I did not know their cocoons fell to the ground, makes me sad now to know the possibility of how many may have been lost.. on my property however, I have many tulip trees, one appears to be at least 100 years if not older..I have only seen that one luna in my area.. im sure there may be more.. 😉

    • Luna caterpillars wrap themselves in leaves before pupating. Sometimes those leaves are still on the tree. Other times, the leaves are already on the ground. When people find a luna caterpillar, most of the time it is when the caterpillar has finished eating and is walking around on the ground, looking for a leaf it can wrap around itself.

      Whether they pupate more often in a tree or on the ground varies by time of year, where you are located, and whom you ask. 😉 I found this one at the base of a sweetgum in southern Ohio last June. I would have loved to have followed it to see where it ended up pupating but I did not have the time. 🙁

    • Luna caterpillars wrap themselves in leaves before pupating. Sometimes those leaves are still on the tree. Other times, the leaves are already on the ground. When people find a luna caterpillar, most of the time it is when the caterpillar has finished eating and is walking around on the ground, looking for a leaf it can wrap around itself.

      Whether they pupate more often in a tree or on the ground varies by time of year, where you are located, and whom you ask. 😉 I found this one at the base of a sweetgum in southern Ohio last June. I would have loved to have followed it to see where it ended up pupating but I did not have the time. 🙁

  3. Leah says:

    We found a luna that seems to be near it’s lifespan. It’s on my outdoor light and can’t seem to fly. Sad. I want to bring it in so something doesn’t end up eating it… Thoughts?

    • bugman says:

      Luna Moths, like other members of the family Saturniidae, do not feed as adults and they do not fly unnecessarily. A female may rest while awaiting a potential mate, and taking a female indoors may prevent mating. We would let nature take its course.

  4. chris says:

    https://instagram.com/p/2ZoKyMhkAH/
    Found this one hanging on our door jam this morning while having iur morning coffee.Beautiful!

  5. Barbara Higgins says:

    Last night I opened my back door and on my screen door was the biggest, most beautiful moth I have ever seen. I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life (71 years) and I have never seen anything like this. I started doing research and ran across this story and it started making sense. I live in Elyria, Ohio about 50 miles east of Chagrin Falls. How wonderful to have seen such beauty in my lifetime! It was something I will never forget.

  6. Melissa Rzeszutek says:

    I have 8 or so Luna moth cocoons they have been outside all winter and we have them in an screen cage . Raised them from eggs we found. When will they hatch and I plan to keep one set of eggs to raise so the birds won’t get them and let the others go in our black gum tree they ate off last year. When might they hatch. We live just south of Conneaut Ohio.l

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