Yesterday a distraught reader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came through on a
search for information about "injured moth[s]." This weblog contributes
embarrassingly little about what to do in the event that a moth, or any specimen
of flying insect for that matter, is injured. I’m no credentialed
physician, but I have had more than a fair share of sporting injuries: sprained
ankles, jammed fingers, and limb dislocations. For those, ice packs aid with
healing, best when applied for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours. But I suppose
that’s not especially helpful for an injured moth.
Certain cracks and cuts can be temporarily patched with super glue.
Also, I was told as a kid that damaging the
of scales on a moth’s wings will fatally injure it. Once a human
touches the wing, the moth is pretty much fudged. Plan its funeral; it’s a
goner by morning. This is the way with many insects, isn’t it? Typically, once injured,
they die. They don’t have a lot of bounce-back, not much means
or opportunity for healing in their short, complex little lives.
You spy an injured moth. Another option is to be Kevorkian-merciful with it
(Aside: Jack K. was released from prison early last month). End its
suffering. Hurry along the inevitable. As inhumane as it might seem at
first, moth death is a part of moth life. In fact, one of the stunning
discoveries upon moving to our new house was that one window casing appeared to
have been used as chamber for torturing moths. Sealed into the narrow
space between the screen and the window pane, the moths must have struggled for
hours before succumbing to their ultimate misfortunes.
I share this gruesome image not so much because I think it will be helpful
for healing an injured moth; rather, I share it because it suggests that
not everyone is so willing to rush to the assistance of moths-in-need that they
search Google for remedies. It suggests that there are those who would stand by,
letting nature run its unthinkably cruel course. That said, the final
alternative I can recommend would be to call a local lepidopterist or
veterinarian, prepared to describe the injury as vividly as possible.