Cream striped owl moths are currently seen in many households due to a lack of predators which leads to a multitude of moths being observed.  Photo supplied

The owl moth explosion


Justin Steyn   l   Views: 83

Cream striped owl moths have become noticeable in many households throughout the country.

Bela-Bela resident Peet Grobler told The BEAT that he was sitting inside his bar area one afternoon and noticed a huge gathering of these winged insects on the ceiling.

“I came home from work and sat at the bar outside of our house, just to relax. I noticed several moths flying around me and when I looked up there were many moths just sitting against the ceiling. I found this very strange as I have never seen moths gather at this magnitude,” Grobler said.

According to Twanet van der Linde of the Jedtwa Wildlife centre in Bela-Bela, South Africa has been experiencing the overwhelming moth population due to drought and a decrease in the moth species’ natural predator numbers. 

 “Wasps and flies are the main predators that these moths are eaten by mainly. They usually kill a lot of the moth offspring, but if the predator numbers have declined, a high percentage of caterpillar survive where the adults then mate and lay even more eggs that survive” she explained 

Van der Linde said these moths are common in South Africa the population’s growth is rather low.

 ”They mainly feed on a variety of acacia trees. It’s with the sudden burst of greenery that these moths strive on and feed, overwhelming their predators.

One female can lay many eggs from each mating session, only one of each sex needs to survive and preserve the species and increase their numbers. This then results in the population explosion we are currently experiencing,” she said.

14 months ago       20 April 2017