Local experts explain increase of moths in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – No matter what you have planned for Memorial Day weekend just know the moths will be joining you.

KOB 4 spoke to experts who say these harmless moths will fly away soon, but not for a few more weeks.

“It’s just the cycle of nature it’s with everything. Some years we have more, some years we have less,” said John Garlisch, a program director of NMSU Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service.  

People don’t need to look very hard to find moths in Albuquerque right now. 

“Almost every single house we go to has got them in the cracks and crevices, door frames, and windows, and eaves. They’re just kind of all over the place this year,” said Chase Wilson, owner of Essential Pest Management. 

It’s a living nightmare for some residents who are just trying to get through their front door alone.

“If they get into the house just vacuum them up, sweep them out,” Garlisch said. “Sure, it might frighten you for a little bit, but it’s not going to hurt you, and it’s not the end of the world either.”

Garlisch says there are more moths this year because there’s more water.

“We had a very mild winter, we’ve had some beautiful spring rains, and so it provided enough resources to tell the moths ‘time to hatch,’ and also that there’s going to be food for them afterwards to come out,” said Garlisch.  

Garlisch says the moths will eventually fly away.

“This is a grin and bear it thing,” he said. “You’ll probably see them up in the higher elevations in a couple of weeks, and then they may fly north for the summer.” 

Exterminators say spraying pesticides won’t keep them away, but turning off outside lights, closing windows, and sealing doors can keep them out.

“It is hard to get rid of them. But usually, the best thing is just to wait it out, and eventually they’ll kind of go away,” said Wilson.  

Garlisch says these so-called “Miller Moths” are completely harmless – they don’t bite or sting, and help pollinate some flowers. They’re also a big food source for some birds.

But is this type of moth swarm normal?

Garlish says yes and that this year’s swarm is pretty average. He says it only seems like there’s a lot more because there were so few the past two years.