That is one fancy moth! (Submitted)

Sarah Simpson column: Giant moth cause of alarm and admiration

This moth was not at all ordinary.

The other day a friend of mine was telling me how she walked out the front door of her house in rural Cowichan and was startled by a moth. What a scaredy cat, hey? Well, sort of, but mostly not — it turns out this moth was giant. And by giant, I mean as big as an adult hand. (I was going to make a Trump joke there but thought better of it.)

This moth was not at all ordinary. It was beautiful; definitely not the type of moth you chase around your living room, through your kitchen, and into your hallway, turning various lights on and off along the way to attract it metre by metre to the front entryway and, if successful, out your front door. (Does anyone else do that or is it just me?)

As an aside, when my sister and I were young and still lived at home, we had a thick blue dictionary on the bookshelf. We never used it to look words up or anything, despite the internet not being a thing yet, but it was known then, and forever shall be known only as “The Book”.

“Get The Book, get The Book!” we’d shriek if we saw a spider or any other bug that had not been invited into our home. We’d drop The Book on the bug and just leave it there for an adult to clean up. No joke. Things have changed since back then, but The Book still sits on a shelf at my childhood home — likely with the remnants of a 25-year-dead-spider clinging to its blue cover.

Anyway, back to the moth. My friend sent me a photo of this giant reddish-purply moth and wondered if I knew what the heck it was (because apparently I am all knowing…little do people know that I’m just really speedy at Google).

It didn’t take me long at all (because now I’m an entomologist, apparently) to identify the massive moth as a Hyalophora euryalus or H. ceanothus silkmoth — part of the Saturnidae family. Official hard-to-pronounce names aside, let’s just call it the Maroon Mega Moth. Apparently they’re widespread on B.C.’s south coast. And of course like all creepy bugs, they only really come out at night so they’re rarely noticed.

Sightings don’t happen often but I was able to find a story from the Nanaimo News Bulletin from last May about a restaraunt owner who found one, too.

SEE RELATED: Nanaimo restaurant owner shares his massive moth discovery

So, here’s a tip: don’t forget to go to the washroom before you leave your house at dawn or dusk lest you run into this mega moth the size of a small bird and it scares you a little.

In other bug and pest news, it looks like Duncan has the (moderately embarrassing) distinction of not just being on Orkin Canada’s list of British Columbia’s Top 20 “Rattiest” Cities, but is actually climbing the ranks.

Back in 2016, Duncan rounded out the Top 10. There’s nothing quite like making a Top 10 list, am I right? We’re so proud.

In 2017, Duncan was ninth. In 2018, we’ve ascended to 8th. I think we can do better. Vancouver is No. 1, which is not really a surprise, but I think those rats will stay there. Victoria is No. 2, though, so if those rodents feel like a road trip, by this time next year we should be able to get to at least No. 7.

The cities are ranked by how many rat and mice treatments Orkin preformed during the calendar year. Oddly, I was talking with my husband and we’ve never seen a rat in Duncan and we’ve lived here roughly 15 years.

Regardless, it doesn’t look like we’ll be rid of bugs and rodents around here any time soon.

You know what I say to that? Aww, rats.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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