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Atteva punctella-Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Atteva punctella-Ailanthus Webworm Moth in ChicagoAtteva punctella or Ailanthus Webworm Moth is thought to be native to South Florida and the American tropics. How it made it to my garden is a bit of a mystery because it isn't suppose to over winter in cold climates.

It is thought that it migrates north (up to Canada) during the warm months but I'm not sure if it returns in the fall or if it just dies. Considered a minor pollinator in the garden I've spotted it here in Chicago visiting my sunflowers and purple cone flowers.

Part of its common name comes from the fact that it has made the invasive Ailanthus altissima tree its home. The supposed 'Tree of Heaven' has turned out to be anything but heavenly since it was introduced to the West from Asia but it has given home to a pretty cool moth.


  1. Cool bug. Maybe it hitched a ride on some nursery stock from Florida. I now remove the Tree of Heaven in any garden I take care of.

  2. Hey DFP,

    Now you have me curious about how they get up here. But your theory sounds the most plausible of the ones I can come up with.

  3. Now that's pretty. I'm fascinated by insects, as you probably have guessed by now. This is a great photo, MBT!

  4. What a cute bug! The pattern is fascinating. And I love the dew droplets on the flower. But tree of heaven, not so much. Another thing I have up the ying yang (it's crowded in there, ha!)... I thought they were sumac at first, but no.

  5. Hi, I see this is from 2007. I found it doing a search of this name that Adrienne of Ohio gave me. I thought it was going to be the other one I was thinking was a skipper of some kind, but the wings look different from the ones I've seen, and I didn't get a chance to look it up in my book.

    Are you continuing to see these moths? I have been for a few years now. I wonder what the caterpillars eat in Nebraska.

    1. Anonymous10:51 PM

      I wonder how rare it is by now, 2012, for this bug to be found in Central Pennsylvania? I found one on the wall outside my house, on September 2011. Just tonight I found out the type of bug it is, and to say the least, I am extremely curious to know more about it. =)

  6. Corner Gardener Sue,

    Yes, I still wee webworm moths in my garden. As a matter of fact there was one on my window yesterday. It spent the whole day there. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the other one is you're talking about. And I'm not sure what the caterpillars of these look like as I've never gotten the chance to see one yet.



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