Miller moths are coming — here’s how to moth-proof your home

Max Kleinen

It’s that time of year again. Mass populations of miller moths are awakening in the Eastern Plains and starting their long journey to Colorado’s mountains, with the Front Range set as a major pit stop. 

Miller moths are a perennial nuisance to Front Range residents, who commonly find the fuzzy creatures flying around inside their homes. Lisa Mason, an entomologist with Colorado State University Extension in Arapahoe County, says the moths’ life cycles bring them through the Front Range as they migrate west in search of cooler weather. 

“When we see them along the Front Range, this is the stopover for them. There's stopping here, there's a lot of blooming flowers around, and that's when they become a nuisance for people. But once those temperatures heat up, they will continue to migrate up to high elevations,” Mason said.

Can I moth-proof my home?

Mason said in many cases, there’s not a whole lot people can do to prevent moths from entering houses, especially during the day.  

“They can be attracted to the cool temperatures in the daytime when it's warm out, they're looking for spaces to hide and stay out of the heat, so homes can be an option,” she said. 

Nighttime is a different story. Moths are more active at night, when people are more likely to have on their indoor and outdoor lamps. Mason said the easiest way to deter moths is to turn off outdoor lights and close blinds to ensure moths aren’t drawn to your home. 

A more time-consuming process to counter unexpected moth encounters would be finding holes where they can enter and sealing them up. Still, Mason notes that’s far from a guaranteed method. 

“There's probably no hundred percent way to seal up your home, but the more you can seal up your home the better,” she said.

Can’t I just squish every moth I find?

Miller moths don’t pose any threat of disease to humans, so there’s really no good reason to go on a killing spree. More will come regardless, and chasing each one will probably be a losing, somewhat maddening battle in the long run.

Mason said she tries to trap moths that enter her home and release them outside. She said it’s ultimately up to personal comfort level with handling moths, but if you let them be, you’re helping the local ecosystem thrive. 

“They do have a role in the ecosystem so they can pollinate flowers that they forge on at night,” she said. “And then they also are food for a lot of other organisms, birds, bats, and other wildlife in our ecosystems.”

Moth season will likely peak in mid-to-late May, but they could stick around longer if the summer gets off to a cooler, wetter start. And they may return to the Front Range temporarily in the fall, as surviving moths make the return trip to lay eggs on the Eastern Plains and begin the cycle anew.