Moths in Wisconsin

James Kruse fnjjk1 at
Wed Jun 13 15:43:24 EDT 2001

on 6/13/01 7:51 AM, Betty Piscoya at bpiscoya at wrote:

> My husband's family reunion will soon take place in Wisconsin.  However,
> I'm worried because I heard that there was a bad infestation of
> caterpillars (soon to be moths) in north Wisconsin.  According to what I
> heard, they are millions and falling everywhere, and someone ended up in
> the hospital because a moth entered his ear.
> Is it really bad?  And does anyone know how long this moth season last?
> Thanks, Betty


My in-laws tell me that the dreaded Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma
disstria) is having a banner year in Wisconsin. Many of the northern aspen
forests are stripped bare, and caterpillars are running everywhere (as of
about 10 days ago). The moth-in-the-ear incident does not sound related to
this outbreak. 

The outbreak sounds like it is near its end, and the trees will recover.
Moths start coming out by the end of June. They are night flying and are
unlikely to cause as much of a disruption as the larvae. Chances are your
reunion will meet a quiet, defoliated forest, but no attacks on your person
by moths or their caterpillars are anticipated.

Hope this helps,
Wisconsin resident 1967-1996,

James J. Kruse, Ph.D.
Curator of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK, USA 99775-6960
tel 907.474.5579
fax 907.474.1987


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