Cecropia Moth

Asked February 19, 2016, 10:08 AM EST

Hi, We found a Cecropia Moth caterpillar in the yard last Fall and it built a cocoon. We have it in an unheated garage now - should we bring it out somewhere where daylight can reach it? When, roughly, do the moths usually emerge in the Spring? Thanks!! Heather Craig, NE Minneapolis

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

In northern Minnesota, the cecropia moths emerge from their cocoons during the first occurrence of hot humid weather in late May or early June so yes place it outside (in shade). Late at night, the female emits a scent called a pheromone that will attract a male moth. The male senses the pheromone with his delicate antennae. He is so attracted to the scent he can find a female from a distance of a mile away! The mated pair will remain together throughout the following day.

A female cecropia can lay more than one hundred eggs. They are usually placed in small groups on the underside of leaves. Depending upon the weather, it takes seven to fourteen days for the eggs to hatch. The newly hatched caterpillars or larva are black and approximately the size of a mosquito.