Ailanthus Webworm Moth

What’s This Bug
I can’t find this it any of my insect books or searching internet with description. It’s about 3/4″ long and no more than 3/16″ wide. I shot it at night, near my porch light. Can you help me out? Thanks.
Robert Zimlich

Hi Robert,
This little moth is known as an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, Atteva punctella, one of the Ermine Moths. We are curious about the national origin of this moth since its common host plant is a pest tree native to China. We located this information on the TrekNature site: “There is some uncertainty about the origin of the Ailanthus webworm, but it is thought to be native to South Florida and the American tropics, with the original larval host plant, the Paradise Tree (Simarouba glauca). Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a tree originally from China, has been widely introduced and Atteva punctella has jumped to this new host plant (giving it its common name, Ailanthus webworm).” In our opinion, the Ailanthus Tree or Tree of Heaven is one of the biggest threats to sensitive native forests in the U.S., and we wish that the Ailanthus Webworm posed more of a threat to the survival of the tree. If only biological agents could be imported that would target the seeds and roots of the Ailanthus Tree and not pose a threat to any native species, we might be rid of the scurge.

1 thought on “Ailanthus Webworm Moth”

Leave a Comment