Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Orange bug with irridescent spots
Location:  Chicago Suburbs, IL
July 29, 2010 10:39 pm
Hello, and thank you for this site. I check it often to try and ID a strange bug I come across. We found this guy on our fence. Then a few nights later, he was on our siding. We live in the Chicago suburbs, IL, and he was found in the summer. Thanks!

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Hi April,
We have been getting more requests for the identification of your creature, the Ailanthus Webworm Moth, each year.  We find it interesting that the moth is native, but the primary food source, the Tree of Heaven or Ailanthus is not.  Here is what BugGuide reports:  “
Larvae live in communal webs (3). One generation a year (4). The main larval food plant (Ailanthus altissima) is also known as Tree of Heaven, Stinking Sumac, Copal Tree, or Varnish Tree, and occurs throughout most of United States and southern Canada, often planted as an ornamental in urban areas. The tree is native to Asia, and is an invasive species in North America, but the moth is native, and its range has increased, presumably, since the introduction of the tree.

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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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