The rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda) is a flying insect that you can probably see coming from a mile away, which is surprising considering they’re usually no more than 2-3 inches in size.
Their body texture is fuzzy, but their coloring is a work of art. While shades can vary, most rosy maple moths are vibrant shades of yellow and pink. Furthermore, they have reddish-pink antennae that are furry and look like feathers.
The rosy maple moth can be found throughout North America and has been spotted as far west as Texas, as far south as Florida, and as far north as Canada. The female moths can lay anywhere between 10-30 eggs, which evolve into a cluster of caterpillars that like to feed on the host plant they’ve found themselves on. The rosy maple moth is not considered to be a destructive pest. However, their feeding habits in the caterpillar stage can leave the plants or trees they’re feeding on bare, impacting the overall aesthetic.
One interesting habit is that once the rosy maple moth transitions from caterpillar to adult moth, they don’t continue feeding. Instead, they retain all the energy they acquired from feeding as a young caterpillar. Because of this, the entire lifespan of this moth lasts less than a year. This makes sighting one of them quite special!
In their larvae and caterpillar stages, blue jays are their most common predators. For this reason, the moths lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, where they go through 5 different growth stages. Once emerging as a caterpillar, they boast green colors that camouflage them and two spikes on their head that protect them. As an adult, the rosy maple moth is most active at night when its vibrant colors are more difficult to spot.
At Mosquito Squad, we’re fans of this harmless silk moth. If you live in a region populated by rosy maple moths, it’s worth spending a few spring or summer evenings on the patio trying to spot one. If you find that other pesky backyard insects are preventing you from enjoying all of nature’s creatures, contact your local Mosquito Squad today!