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News : Moths abundant, but not harmful, says Tim Gibb

Moths abundant, but not harmful, says Tim Gibb
by Jeanne Gibson Purdue News

The large amount of small moths on Midwestern lawns lately are nothing to worry about, says a Purdue University entomologist.

“They are alarming because they look much like the European corn borer, but they are actually grass moths,” Timothy Gibb says. “They are called celery leaf-tiers and normally are very minor pests to many plants.”

The moths have the same triangular appearance and coloration of European corn borers, and often act like sod webworm, a common turf grass pest. But they are not destructive like either of those two.

Slightly smaller than European corn borer, celery leaf-tiers seem to be everywhere in lawns across Indiana and neighboring states, but they are not harmful to neighboring corn crops, Gibb says.

Reasons for the high numbers this season are not known, but Gibb says they are not expected to become more than a nuisance pest on lawns.

“These moths are simply everywhere,” Gibb says. “We notice them more on our lawns because that is where we walk and what we see the most. They are in no short supply in unmaintained grassy areas, vacant lots or agricultural fields either, and driving down a country road at dusk will yield a windshield full of splats.”

For more information about celery leaf-tiers visit