Wednesday, June 7, 2023

6/2 Invaded by Swarms of Moths

I have not posted lately, but I decided I really needed to post about my most recent "adventure.)  I left Heaton Bay on Friday, and I drove over the mountains into Cherry Creek SP just east of Denver, only to find out that this was cutworm moth season.

I found a few moths on Friday evening, so I started swatting and electrocuting moths.  I went to bed very late, but woke up about 4:00 am.  When I woke up, I discovered that my motorhome had been invaded by hundreds of Miller Moths.  Between 4:00 am and 5:30 am, and I am not exaggerating, I'd kill a dozen by swatting them with my electric swatter, dump them in the toilet, and find a dozen or more hiding in the bathroom. Finally, I could not stand it and got out the RAID and sprayed my bathroom and closed the door--got about 40 that way. Then a smaller spray to kitchen, and yes, I know you should not spray your kitchen.  Here is the result in the bathroom:


I felt like I had been trapped in Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.  After some quick research, I found out the moths had hatched in western Kansas and were migrating to eastern Colorado, but the migration was almost done, so i packed up and was off by 6 am, after less than 2 hours of sleep. I knew the farther east the better, so I drove all day and got to Wilson lake, after 383 miles. Tried to take a nap halfway there, but found moths in my bedroom, so gave up and just kept driving.  And I could not use my bathroom at all during my drive, so had to stop for meals and bathrooms. 

On the way through Kansas, I stopped at a hardware store to stock up on insect spray and got two little ultraviolet lights with sticky pads. They are the same as these on Amazon:  Anyways, these really work, but you have to turn off other lights as much as possible! Within an hour each one (kitchen and bathroom) each had 5 moths, so I had to change the pads--luckily I got two packs of extras. Gone through a lot of little plastic bags in last couple of days because a bug that looks dead may just be stunned. Did flush some, however.

I had to cancel the second day of my stay at Cherry Creek, and the ranger was kind enough to give me a partial refund.  I also cancelled a one-night stay at a private campground, and had not yet paid, so no cancellation fee.  Luckily, I was able to get a reservation at Minooka Park on Wilson Lake for Saturday and Sunday nights.  Since I already had reservations there for Monday through Wednesday, this worked out well.  (It is not easy in summer to get last minutes reservations, but school is apparently not out yet in Kansas.)  

I normally try to limit my driving each day to about 200 miles, so 383 miles was really an exhausting struggle, but I wanted to get as far east as possible, and I have been here before, so I knew this was a pleasant place, and I was hopeful that my site on a bluff overlooking the lake would have a good breeze to keep insects away.   

When I arrived at Minooka, I heated up and ate some dinner, then I got into cleaning mode.  I scrubbed the bathroom shower and walls down, and then ditto for the kitchen. There were still some moths around, so I electrocuted all the moths I could.  Also I had to put towels and rug from bathroom into a big plastic bag because they had been sprayed also.  I turned all lights off, except the ultraviolet bug catchers, then went into my bedroom and closed the door. Hard to sleep, but I probably fell asleep at 1 am and slept until 2 pm on Sunday. 

Saturday night, there were fewer moths, maybe 50-60, but I suspect these were moths that had been hiding, not new ones that had come in.  

I had been throwing things around to swat at moths with electric swatter so on Sunday, I did a thorough vacuuming and did dishes with a little bleach in the water.  Also washed down places where I had swatted moths. So, all is now clean.  Supposedly the moths have mostly migrated west and most of the ones I killed last night might have been from night before. 

Keeping my fingers crossed.  Anyway, my advice is to stay clear of western Kansas and eastern Colorado in May and early June.  Here are three articles about the moths, but the first one is the best because it is funny:


No comments:

Post a Comment