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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Unsplash
‘Fall back’ one hour on Sunday

Local standard time means B.C. residents gain one hour of sleep starting Sunday, Nov. 1

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

Wreaths will already be laid around the cenotaph before people arrive at the ceremony. Photo: Chelsea Novak
Scaled-down Remembrance Day event to take place in Rossland

The public is encouraged not to attend ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 crisis

Rossland’s population has grown steadily over the years. Photo: Connor Trembley
City of Rossland to create new economic development task force

The task force will try to attract more businesses, entrepreneurs to city

A view of proposed seniors housing on Vernon St. Illustration: City of Nelson/ Vendure Retirement Communities
Nelson seniors housing project to start construction in the spring

Private development on Vernon Street will provide assisted living services as well as housing

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read