Moth mania: its cause and treatment

Lacey Robertson, Staff Writer

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Lacey Robertson
Senior Courtney Rivard searches for a moth that’s flying under the desks during Mr. N’s math class.


The campus has been infested with moths and other creatures during the month of September, and students and faculty alike are searching for a solution.

A senior girl was met with a flutter of the flying insects–13 moths to be exact–at precisely 8:15 a.m. recently in the bathroom in the 700 building, but she’s not alone in this close encounter around campus.

Moths have been making their home inside the NDP community, especially in the bathrooms and in the 800 building and have been a nuisance to teachers and students.

Dead moths gather in the sink of the 700 building bathroom.

“There are currently 37 moths and counting in room 801,” said senior Tayler Nisser. “I heard that a math teacher had to stop her lesson during A period and turned off all the lights and opened the door to try to make them leave,” she said.

The moth influx in Arizona during this time of year is due to the monsoon season, according to Harry Ertter, operations director. He said the moths should be left alone because they serve an important ecological role as prey for many animals.

Faculty and maintenance staff are looking for a way to treat the infestation at NDP to appease unhappy students and teachers.

“We brought in more bats,” Mr. Ertter joked, referring to the  bat population on campus.

Moths are easy prey for bats because their echolocation allows them to detect the moths in complete darkness, according to Prof. David Jacobs, an animal evolution expert.

The solution to the moths is to wait for the monsoon season to end and to use various forms of repellent to keep them away from classrooms, restrooms, and other student gathering areas instead of exterminating them.

“We’re treating the areas with repellent powder and cedar planks,” Mr. Ertter said. “It’s a seasonal thing,” he said.

After these steps are taken, it really is just a matter of time before the moths make their exit.

“I wish I knew how long [it would take], but I think it will be about a month, which is when it gets cooler outside,” said Ertter.

Many staff members share students’ negative feelings about the moths, but some feel that the insects are not as significant of a problem as people around NDP are making it out to be.

Math instructor Wilhelm Nieweglowski, who has a classroom in the 800 building, does not seem too bothered by the intruders.

“It’s annoying, but it’s not a serious problem,” he said. “Since we have survived [the moths] for such a long time, we will be fine if we don’t intervene.”

He added, “I don’t like bugs, but I don’t have a phobia. I don’t have an opinion [on moths].”

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