Food Plant & Stored Product Pests – Moths


December 10, 2013

  • While some moths, particularly the corn earworm, are significant agricultural pests, many others are important pollinators. Their hairy bodies pick up pollen from any flower they land on.
  • Because of their abundance, moths are major players at the bottom of the food chain and are a huge source of food for bats. Some have even evolved defenses against their winged predators. Tiger moths produce ultrasonic clicking that jams bat sonar.
  • Though they lack noses, moths are expert sniffers. They detect odor molecules using their antennae instead of nostrils. Male giant silkworm moths have elaborate, feather-shaped antennae with hair-like scent receptors that allow them to detect a single molecule of a female moth’s sex hormone from seven miles away.
  • While some moths suck nectar, others don’t eat at all. The adult Luna moth doesn’t even have a mouth. Its sole mission in life is to mate and lay eggs.
  • There are more than 11,000 species of moths in the U.S. alone. They outnumber butterflies (their nearest relatives) by more than 10 to one. That’s also more than all the bird and mammal species in North America combined.

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