Those dark, winged creatures massing around flowering trees at night are not bats. They are moths that, although harmless, have a preference for flying into homes.
Even the pre-Columbian residents noticed this and named the moth a word that translates to “may I borrow your house,” according to the TexasInfo,net Web site. Although native to Central America and México, many of the insects have been migrating yearly to the north.
In English, the moths are called the black witch. The scientific name is Ascalapha odorata.
Although males can have wingspans the size of a man’s hand, not all are this big, and females are typical slightly smaller.
They are the boldest type of insect home invader, although why they do this is unclear. It might have to do with the lack of turbulence in the wind outside. This time of year several usually can be found hanging from the upper walls or ceilings.
The moth is known to feed on fallen fruit, but dozens sometimes can be seen at dusk feeding on the nectar of flowering trees.
The moths all appear to be black at night, of course, but some can be dark brown. Females have a white stripe across both wings.
There is a lot of contradictory folklore and mythology associated with the moth. Some think the moth is a predictor of death. TexasInfo said that residents in the U.S. state think that a large moth stopping above the doorway of a home predicts a win in the lottery.
The moth is nocturnal, but they have a tendency to become trapped in homes and can be observed during the day trying to leave through the glass windows. Once released, they might end up as lunch for local birds.