Moths have descended on New Denver. Photo: Pexels

Moths have descended on New Denver. Photo: Pexels

New Denver moth infestation cyclical and natural

The village is dealing with swarms of moths right now

John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

If you had ‘moth invasion’ on your 2020 disaster bingo card, congratulations!

Residents of the New Denver area have been putting up with swarms of tiny, cream-coloured moths for weeks now.

“Typically, right now we are seeing western hemlock looper (Lamdina fiscellaria lugubrosa) or phantom hemlock looper (Nepytia phantasmaria), which are both native defoliators,” says Darcie Quamme, the senior biologist with Integrated Ecological Research in Nelson.

The bugs are after one of New Denver’s signature trees.

“The moths prefer western hemlock trees but sometimes outbreaks are seen on other hosts including Douglas fir,” says Quamme.

And it’s not just Slocan Lake that is seeing the large numbers.

“There have been a number of reports of moths from citizen-scientists and professionals, in particular, from the Kootenays, Kamloops and the Thompson-Okanagan area, the Lower Mainland and Sunshine coast,” she says.

The swarm of moths have been getting into every nook and cranny of people’s homes, outside buildings, and even on the water. An eclipse that landed in Rosebery Bay on Slocan Lake in August prompted a feeding frenzy for fish, one local resident reported.

While it’s not seen very often, mass invasions aren’t unnatural, says Quamme.

“Outbreaks occur approximately every 10 years and last about three years,” she says. “Recent droughts and a lack of soil moisture in the last few years may make forest stands more susceptible to the larvae.

“The moths prefer western hemlock trees but sometimes outbreaks are seen on other hosts including Douglas fir. Other host species at peak populations may also include: western red cedar, subalpine fir, amabilis fir, grand fir and spruce, native maples and forest understory vegetation.”

Outbreaks of these moths are naturally cyclic in British Columbia and not harmful to humans, says Quamme. She notes forest practices, which promote stand-health and maintain wildlife features that encourage the predators of moths – including bats, insects, birds and parasitoids – improve a stand’s resilience to the caterpillar attack.

There’s not much you can do about the moths, but live with it while it lasts.

“Generally, outbreaks are eruptive,” she says. “They spike quickly and crash just as fast in an explosive manner.”

It still beats murder hornets.

– Valley Voice

Just Posted

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read