Subject: Flying Insect-Florida Keys
Location: Marathon, Florida
October 11, 2012 10:42 am
I have been seeing these flying, beautiful bugs for several years in the Florida Keys. Can you tell me about this lovely creature?
Signature: D.Y. Sullberg

Polka Dot Wasp Moth

Dear D.Y. Sullberg,
This Polka Dot Wasp Moth,
Syntomeida epilais, is a very effective wasp mimic.  By imitating a stinging insect, it is able to avoid many predators.  The caterpillar, known as the Oleander Caterpillar, has no problem finding food in the state of Florida because oleander is so widely planted, so this is a relative common insect.

Thank you very much…the caterpillars are definitely chowing down the Oleanders & the moths are hatching from loosely woven black cocoons. We love the colorful moths but the caterpillars are destroying the Oleander hedge. Are they seasonal? Should we spray? Will the foliage grow back?

We don’t give extermination advice.  The foliage will grow back.

Location: Florida

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