Currently viewing the category: "Ermine Moths"

Orange and white spotted insect
Location:  Austin, Texas
September 26, 2010 9:11 pm
Hoping you could identify this one for me…information online seems very scarce.
Signature:  ESP.

Ailanthus Webworm

Dear ESP,
Your moth is a native species of Ermine Moth that has gotten the common name of Ailanthus Webworm.  The interesting thing about that is that the Ailanthus is not native and it might be the most dangerous weed tree in North America.  The Ailanthus can survive in all types of climates and conditions from deserts to snow to swamps.  Sadly, the Ailanthus Webworm feeds on the leaves and that will not kill the tree.  We need to find a native borer that will feed on the wood, preferably the roots, of this scourge tree.  We have gotten more requests to identify the Ailanthus Webworm this year than ever before and we suspect its numbers are increasing as its introduced host tree can be found coast to coast and border to border.

I noticed you have a lot of requests for this one…sorry to add myself to
the populous! Thanks…ESP.

No problem.  It allowed us to continue to pontificate on the pest tree that is commonly called the Tree of Heaven.

Trees of Heaven

Ailanthus comment
Ailanthus trees are nasty and they smell bad.
September 27, 2010 10:36 am
I check out your website everyday and I love it a lot, and I couldn’t do without it. When you go to your Mom’s house in Ohio ever year, I go into withdrawal until you get back. I just have to have my WTB fix.
Just a quick comment on those nasty trees in the picture.
When I lived in Detroit, they grow all over the place,in the alleys etc.
They smell bad. My friends and neighbors and I always referred to them as sewer trees because of their odor.
They’re hard to get rid of. They have a extensive root system and unless you dig them up, you can’t get rid of them.
Even when they’re small and they’re not much bigger than toothpicks, they have one heck of a root system.
Hopefully an insect will appear that would take care of that scourge, and save people a lot of time and trouble trying to dispose of them.
Signature: Sueann Juzwiak

Almost artful display
August 24, 2009
Me and my wife were on the way to the hospital to get some metal stitches pulled from me tummy from a hernia surgery, and seeing as we had the nikon tagging along with us in the backpack, decided to go by the fountain situated in front of BLDG 2 at the Bill Hefner VA Hospital in Salisbury, NC. We truly couldn’t have come at a better time as as soon as we arrived there was also a pair of grasshoppers prolonging the species as it were. I almost thought it necessary to recommend a hotel, LOL! I will be probably be adding another post here since I truly don’t know where this other insect I found falls into the category. Several Butterflies (Swallowtails and others) were showing off before us along with the random wood boring bee.
This insect is approximately 9/16″ to 5/8″ in length and was kinda slow in moving selectively extracting pollen, and almost playing dead when we got too close. It has some markings that almost look as if someone had attempted to paint small flowers on each side… Absolutely stunning when you can zoom in. Let me know what this litter bugger is, me and my wife are dying to know!!!
Amateur Photographer, Can you tell?
VA Hospital, Salisbury, NC Next to waterfall

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Dear Amateur Photographer,
This moth is known as an Ailanthus Webworm, but sadly, it only eats the leaves of the Ailanthus, or Tree of Heaven, and it doesn’t do much to remove this scourge from North America.

White spotted moth
Hi and thanks for your time.
My name is Ian Thomson from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I came home the other day to see a moth I haven’t seen before perched on my porch door. It is appx. 3/4″ long and is mostly snow white with small black spots. It seems very well camouflaged for my white door trim, but it doesn’t seem especially well suited for the wild in Wisconsin this time of year. I am curious if you have any idea what this fella may be, and if it may be unusual for this area, or if I just haven’t been looking hard enough. The moth is hanging upside down, but I rotated the photos right side up. Also, apologies for the photo quality–my digital camera is not especially sophisticated and refuses to focus on near objects. I did some brief searching and saw a giant leopard moth, but this seems much smaller with less dark spotting. Perhaps a cousin? Please let me know your thoughts as I am very curious. Thank you much for your time, I look forward to your reply!
Ian Thomson

Hi Ian,
Your moth is in the Ermine Moth family Yponomeutidae and in the genus
Yponomeuta. We located it on BugGuide and it does not have a common name.