Seasonal Moth Havoc
We’ve all been enjoying Sydney’s early summer – but the warm dry air has brought on one unwelcome event: the early arrival of the Bogong moth.
The annual migration of this large furry brown flutterer starts when the temperatures up north begin to rise. The moths fly south to the cool of the Alps, flooding through Sydney and on to Canberra – where they seem irresistibly drawn to the flagpole on Capital Hill. The bright lights that focus on our national flag are to blame – and the most popular idea for addressing the problem is that we turn the lights down or off in the wee hours of the morning.
The moths are a bit of a joke amongst the politicians, but they really are are a nuisance. They cluster in large numbers (up to 17,000 have been counted in one square metre in hibernation!), can clog air-conditioning systems and vents, and have been known to set off alarms. They hide very effectively during the day and emerge at night – usually in the middle of your dinner party or just when you thought you could sit down and relax. Not the brightest of creatures, they are prone to ending belly-up in unwashed cups and bowls – or worse, dropping into unfinished drinks. Thankfully, they don’t tend to damage clothing or fabrics.
Plague numbers of Bogong moths do pass on – they are a temporary pest. Their predators are birds and possums, so encouraging these creatures can keep moths and other insects at bay. The best prevention strategy is turning lights down (or preferably off) and making sure all insect screens are intact and in place. This might not get rid of them, but it will keep them away from you.
Or you could do as our indigenous predecessors did – pop them on the barbecue!