The Great Colorado Invasion Has Begun – But Don’t Kill Them!
I used to live on one of the smaller lakes in Loveland back in the day, and had this pretty cool upstairs back porch that was mostly enclosed, but still had a lot of openings that allowed a number of bugs in - specifically the flying variety.
I remember the late spring/early summer of either 2004 or 2005 - I can't remember which - my girlfriend at the time saw me through the window vacuuming the air with a shop vac, and came out there to ask just what I was doing. I get it. It probably looked weird.
"Moths," I said. "I'm sucking the moths right out of the air."
Miller moths, more specifically. You know the kind. The dusty, brown, tan and bland looking guys that you really only see at night, attracted to any light shining nearby.
I felt like a genius. There was SO many of them flying around inside that porch, I felt like I was stuck in an old man's closet full of musty, vintage clothing. But the shop vac in the air trick really seemed to work great. Way easier than swatting them or trying to catch them to toss outside. I got rid of dozens of moths that had been buzzing around in there pretty quick. Nobody likes the sound of a moth dinging into a light bulb or bouncing around the inside of a lampshade like a pinball.
And guess what? They're baaaack! Miller moth season has again arrived in Colorado.
But here's what I didn't know back then. They are actually pretty cool, play an important role around here and I probably shouldn't have sucked them into my shop vac.
This time of year, if the weather is just right we usually have a great swarm (flock?) of Miller moths passing through as they migrate from the eastern plains to the mountains looking for food. You've probably already seen your fair share. And believe it or not, they play a pretty important role in our Colorado ecosystem.
The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster includes them among their "VIP's" - otherwise known as Very Important Pollinators. That's right. If you want to save the bees, you should also want to leave the shop vac in the garage and let the moths live. Butterflies pollinate during the day and these guys do their dirty work at night.
Beyond the work they do, they're also a crowd favorite snack for animals like birds and bears. Also my dog Charlie, if one happens to dare fly too close to his face. Gross.
The good news is moth season only lasts a few weeks, so maybe rather than knocking them out of the air into a messy cloud of dust on the table, you could just shoo them out a door or safely trap them in your hand and toss them out a window. They won't be here bothering us for too long.
But while they're here, I get it. They are annoying.