Help and Advice from the Help Desk of the Master Gardeners of Contra Costa
Client's Request for Information and Advice:
Looking forward to hearing from you.
MGCC's Help Desk Response:
Thank you for contacting the Master Gardener Help Desk.
The odd-looking insect in your photo is an artichoke plume moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla). I've noticed these on my screen doors and house walls occasionally this summer myself. The moth is about 1" wing span while the larvae (caterpillar) is about 1/2" long. An interesting short UC blog on the moth can be found at http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=14257
Are you or your neighbors growing artichokes or cardoon (related to artichoke, but you eat the stems)? Or are you near an open space with an infestation of imported cardoon weed?
So, not really a good bug, except that it is food for birds, and other insects and spiders.
For even more information about this insect and its control, University of California has published a Pest Note (free) specifically on the artichoke plume moth at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/plumemth.html
Happy gardening! Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Help Desk of the Master Gardeners of Contra Costa
Note: The Master Gardeners of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. We can also be reached via telephone: (925) 646-6586, email: email@example.com, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us//span>