Last week The Pocahontas Times asked about a spotted bug found on Thistlewood Farm. This September, one of those orange and black bugs showed up in the company of a cloud of migrating butterflies. Now called the “Ailanthus Webworm Moth,” it looks like a beetle and flies like a wasp.
The moth is native to South Florida and Central America. It was unknown north of that range until it adapted to feed on Ailanthus – The Tree-of-Heaven — an invasive plant from China which has become a nuisance in many areas. Since it feeds on an unwanted plant, this moth is a friend.
The photo, taken on Top of Allegheny Mountain, shows an Ailanthus Webworm Moth and a Monarch butterfly feeding on goldenrod nectar. Photo and info courtesy of Richard Laska
The Pocahontas Times thanks Merrilyn Taylor, Ed Saugstad, Loyal Sharp, Barb Baechtel, Susan Morrison, David Smith and John Jett, for being a part of the “investigation” into that little spotted bug.