Jun 02, 2023

Help! Miller Moths Have Taken Over My RV!

In May and June, there's often chatter in our RV Lifestyle group about Miller moths. This year is no different.

A Top Contributor, Trish, recently posted: "MILLER MOTHS. 😡 Any Colorado folks know how to kill them in my camper?? HUNDREDS of them!"

She received over 100 comments with advice on how to get rid of the buggers. We’re going to share that advice, as well as help you prevent an invasion in the first place!

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It helps to know that Miller moths are usually only a nuisance for 5-6 weeks of the year during their migration (May-June). And, actually, they don't migrate every year! Or at least not as far, depending on the weather and availability of flowering plants.

You can learn from Trish's post that their migration primarily covers Colorado. Although they sometimes appear en masse from fields throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

This year is a particularly busy year for Miller moths, as rain storms have brought them out early in Colorado.

Before we get into prevention and removal, it's important to note that Miller moths are pollinators. As such, they are crucial to their ecosystems.

So, we don't want to go around spraying insecticides outside to kill these little guys and their pollinating friends (like bees). In fact, Colorado Governor Jared Polis just signed a law on May 16th that protects pollinators from the threat of toxic chemicals."

However, there are "common-sense exemptions, particularly for indoor use." That means it is legally acceptable to spray moths inside your living space (i.e., RV). Although, we have some other tips that don't require harmful chemicals…

RVers can take preventative measures to avoid killing these pollinators. And, really, they’re the same preventative measures to keep any pest out, from ants to mice.

(Speaking of which, we have two popular articles on how to keep mice out of a camper and how to get rid of mice in a camper.)

First and foremost, block entry into your RV by checking seals and screens every April. Fill any gaps in seals with RV caulk and sealants and replace or patch screens as necessary.

Moths often come in through vents, so you’ll also want to check screen vents and entry points. And, of course, keep your screen doors closed!

As we all learned from Disney's A Bug's Life, moths are attracted to light. Poor Larry couldn't help flying into the bug zapper because "it's so beautiful!" So, to keep Larries away, be mindful of which lights you leave on.

We highly suggest you keep your porch light turned off as much as possible during Miller moth migration. Besides, turning your porch light off at bedtime is Rule #13 of being a good camping neighbor.

The same goes for your bathroom light, where moths like to come in through the vent.

It turns out there are more effective ways to get rid of Miller moths than dousing them with harsh chemicals. You can use the same things that attract them to get rid of them. Let me explain…

Like we said, Larry (aka Miller moths) can't help but go to the light. It's just too beautiful for them to resist. So, many commentators replied to Trish's post with their Light + Soapy Water trap.

The trap is simple. You place an open container of soapy water beneath a light source (like a camping lantern). The moths will get stuck in the water when they visit the light and, like poor Larry, will perish.

Just be sure you don't attract more moths with that same light! Strategically place the light where the moths are already convening. Or, strategically place it away from you so the moths flock in the opposite direction.

Of course, you can get rid of Miller moths the same way the camper owner got rid of Larry in A Bug's Life. That is, with a bug zapper.

Although, we actually recommend a non-zap equivalent…

We’ve recently learned of the Katchy Indoor Insect Trap, which is highly rated with over 100,000 reviews. It's a triple-threat to flying bugs, including moths. So, you get rid of annoying bugs without the annoying zappity zap sizzle!

Another common solution given in the Facebook comments is to use your RV vacuum to suck Miller moths up. Larry's little wings don't stand a chance against the sucking force of a vacuum.

They’re something oddly satisfying about snagging them with a vacuum, too. One can almost feel like Luke using the Force to pull them in.

For those RVers who don't want to kill Larry (just get rid of him), there are ways to lure Miller moths out of your RV.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science explains how to scare them away:

"Briefly open any doors in the morning where live moths have gathered to release them back to the outdoors. The moths may be sheltering around doors and windows. Swat and wave them away."

You can essentially guide them out of your RV with your hands if you have the patience for it. They’ll likely want to head out anyway, so it shouldn't take too much cajoling.

If there's one bad thing about camping, it's bugs. And there are a lot more bugs than just harmless Miller moths trying to make your RV their home. The above video shows an interview with a CDC expert on mosquitos. She gives helpful tips!

Plus, we’ve made a shopping list of the best products to combat bugs on your next RV trip. This list includes everything from screen tents to repellents to bite treatments to give you a full line of defense… and offense… against bugs!

See the Bug Off Shopping List…

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