Juniper Budworm Moth
While some moths are big and spectacular, a lot are not. The juniper budworm moth (Cudonigera houstonana) is only about 1 centimeter in length. Most individuals are a sort of rust color, but the metallic nature of their wing scales can cause their color to appear pink, coral or gold. This moth is in the family Tortricidae, commonly known as the leafrollers. The caterpillars of many species in this group conceal themselves while feeding, whether it is in rolled leaves or burrowing into plant stems or fruits. We recently saw a sharp rise in numbers of the juniper budworm moth, probably helped along by recent rains providing a bit of relief from our usual hot and dry summer weather. The nocturnal adults are attracted to lights.