They are harmless, in that they don't bite or sting or eat plants or clothes. They aren't particularly ugly either; like most moths they are just the plain, furry-bodied and dusty cousins of the more flashy butterfly.
But they can cause heart-attacks. Or maybe a quasi-heart-attack. Or at least scare you enough to make you flee your house or wreck your car.
In the daytime, they like to hide out in dark places, under rocks and leaves, in door crevices and in our mailbox. When it's miller time at home, I know to open the mailbox slowly and not stick my face in it right away, because as soon as the daylight hits them, they come fluttering out by the dozens and it's not that pleasant to have them in your mouth.
|See how flat they get?|
These guys are between the coils of
a garden hose.
The miller moths start showing up in May around Douglas. They are the adult form of the army cutworm and they flutter around by the zillions on their migration path to the mountains in search of flowering plants and nectar.
We've been in Wyoming for almost 10 years, so we're used to them by now and I hardly ever get surprised by them in the mailbox anymore. That's a lie.
So the last time I went to our mailbox, I opened it up, waited a second while the millers fluttered out and grabbed the one envelope in the box.
Side note: I love mail. Love. It. Real mail, not junk mail. I am a junk mail ninja, killing it at the source by opting out of unsolicited mail and credit card offers. And for the junk mail that slips through anyway, I email them and tell them to take me off their list and they do. Because I can totally make big corporations bend to my will.
So, I walk inside with my one piece of real mail, a letter written by a human, and plop down on the couch to read it, savoring the experience. (I didn't know until this moment that I was such a mail nerd) I slip my finger under the completely sealed envelope flap and a Mothra sized miller flits out, grazing my hand with its fuzzy, fat body and fluttering itself against my arm before taking off for parts unknown.
I don't know where it went because I ran out of the house like it was on fire and for all I know it got a beer out of the refrigerator (not Miller though, so haha on it!) and sat down on the couch to watch tv. Although we don't get any channels, so haha on it again, unless it can figure out the DVD player. But I think that's just giving it a little too much credit.
Although, they can cause car wrecks too, so really we're only just now finding out what they are capable of.