Asked August 6, 2016, 4:24 AM EDT


I live in Arkansas(yeah, land of the ding dongs) and have been graced with the presence of 2 Leopard Moths around my trailer for about 3 weeks.
Some A-hole sprayed the whole area with roundup 2 days ago. I tried rinsing the area with water and have been bringing them different vines and plants to eat from a wooded area nearby.
Tonight, one of them is out there with it's head in/near a brownish liquid. I fear it's like human vomit and it will die. Can you give me any information on this situation?
Debra Young

Cleburne County Arkansas

2 Responses

Thanks for you question. Sorry to hear about the trouble with the pesticide application, and its affect on the moths.

Just to get a better understanding, I'm guessing that you are trying to feed the moths. Typically, it is the young (i.e. the caterpillars) that feed, and not the adults (the moths). Moth caterpillars usually eat not only for that stage, but also for the pupal (cocoon/transitional) stage, and even the adult (moth) stage. Some moths do drink nectar, just like butterflies and skippers, but most don't eat or feed at all. So moths won't be interested in leaves or vegetation like in their younger days. They have no way to chew on leaves, like when they were caterpillars. They are really only interested in leaves so they can leave eggs on them for the next generation.

As far as having its head "in/near in a brown liquid", that may be a liquid that they emit. I found this information from the site: "Yellowish droplets of liquid are sometimes seen emitted from the adults when threatened or handled. These droplets are a chemical defense against predators." So, this liquid is probably from them from being touched or disturbed.

Roundup 2 is usually applied to vegetation to kill or discourage caterpillars, so the spraying could have been a directly related to the leopard moth young. This makes it tricky to fix the situation, since it all goes back to healthy vegetation. Whether it's moths laying eggs on healthy leaves, or having healthy leaves for the young to eat, the life cycle is destroyed when the leaves are poisoned.

Maybe you can talk to those responsible for applying the pesticide, and reason with them. Sometimes people just get scared and apply pesticide unnecessarily. Some have fears and/or repulsions of caterpillars, and think that killing is the way to go. Even in home gardens, people sometimes apply pesticides unnecessarily and kill and weaken the life cycle for butterflies, bees/pollen, and beneficial insects.

Best of luck, and thank you!

I did provide the management with info. on Roundup. Unfortunately, I found one of the 2 caterpillars dead last night and have not seen the other for 3 nights now. There were no outside signs of injury on the dead one. Not only am I saddened the dead but by people's stupidity and they're chosen ignorance. Thank you for responding