Army cutworm

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Army cutworm
Euxoa auxiliaris.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Tribe: Agrotini
Genus: Euxoa
Species: E. auxiliaris
Binomial name
Euxoa auxiliaris
(Grote, 1873)

The army cutworm (Euxoa auxiliaris) is a species of moth.[1] Its nickname "miller moth" comes from the fine scales on its wings that rub off easily and remind people of the dusty flour that covers the clothing of a miller.[2]


Its caterpillars are pests of oat (Avena sativa) and common wheat (Triticum aestivum). The miller moth is a seasonal nuisance in the spring in states including Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Kansas, as they hatch in the low-lying farmlands, then migrate to higher elevations for the summer. They return as the weather cools but in smaller numbers. They are considered nearly impossible to control through normal pest extermination techniques because a new batch shows up every day as they migrate. With their very small bodies, they enter homes (attracted by the light) in the evening through any available crack or crevice (doorjamb, chimney, etc.) and residents in migration paths report dozens of moths per day entering their homes and garages. However, other than being a nuisance, they are not considered harmful.[3][4][5]


Euxoa auxiliaris is commonly found in the Western section and prairies of the United States. They are known to travel to alpine climate regions in late June and early July where they feed at night on the nectar of wildflowers. Army cutworms are one of the richest foods for predators, such as brown bears, in this ecosystem, where up to 72 per cent of the moth's body weight is fat, thus making it more calorie-rich than elk or deer.[6] This is the highest known body fat percentage of any animal.[7]


  1. ^ "Euxoa auxiliaris". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved July 9, 2007. 
  2. ^ From the (2012-04-23). "Wait it out: Little help available for miller moth invasion - Carlsbad Current-Argus". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  3. ^ "The Hutchinson News Online Edition". Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Run! Hide! The miller moth invasion has begun". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  5. ^ "Warm temperatures bring in miller moths - Lexington Clipper-Herald : News". 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  6. ^ Chadwick, Douglas. "Grizzlies", "National Geographic", 2001-07-01
  7. ^