Attack of the killer moths……

  • The giant moth was once thought confined to the world of science fiction. Researchers in Scotland are finding out that the giant moth, though smaller than its cinematic cousin, may wreak a similar level of damage to the coniferous forests of the north. Three inches in length with a wing span the size of a human hand this creature is imposing, but it is the larva that causes the greatest damage stripping the foliage from large areas of pine woodland.
  • Originating from continental Europe, Russia and Asia, the moth has established a breeding population in Scotland since 2008. Outbreaks of the moth generally last for 8 years and climate change, which may lead to drier conditions, makes for favourable moth breeding conditions.
  • Strict control measures are in place to limit the spread of the moth, however changing climatic conditions will be difficult to overcome. Lessons can be learned from other parts of the world, in particular Canada where the mountain pine beetle continues to decimate forests, a result of warmer than normal winters, also believed to be a result of climate change.

Instances such as these serve as a warning of the tortuous pathways climatic impacts may take before affecting society. Climate induced drier conditions lead to invasive moths, which in turn decimate an industry that sustains a particular population.

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