Acronicta leporinal, or a miller moth. (Photo by Donald Hobern, CC Images)
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COLORADO SPRINGS — Experts have reported an abundant supply of miller moths in Colorado that could continue for the next few weeks, reversing a four-year trend of below-average population numbers.

Colorado State University entomologists Whitney Cranshaw and Frank Peairs released a study attributing the increase in sightings to the lack of moisture in Colorado and neighboring states, The Gazette reported.

Miller moths, also known as army cutworms, originated in eastern Colorado and areas of western Kansas and Nebraska and migrate west around May to follow the flowering plants for nectar.

Flowering plants usually spread out across the state when moisture conditions are good but this year was different, researchers said.

“Moisture conditions in fall, winter and spring have generally been much lower than in 2019 and blooming flowers in non-irrigated areas are much less abundant this year,” the study said. “When this happens the moths that are present concentrate in areas where large numbers of flowering plants are present.”

Some studies show grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park eat miller moths but there has not been a subsequent increase in bear sightings, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Bill Vogrin said.

The moths usually stay for about six weeks hiding in cool, dry and dark places, the study said, adding that they are generally not harmful to people.

Residents can rid their homes of the moths by sealing any openings often around windows or doors, researchers said.