It's the dog days of summer in Central Texas, and for the last few weeks I've noticed a lot of these tiny, winged creatures in my back yard (disregard the cicada shell at top right):

insect angle 1 insect angle 2 insect angle 3

They seem to be everywhere, seeking shelter in shady areas such as the bottom side of leaves, blades of grass, and under awnings or overhangs.

What are they? Are they doing damage to my lawn or trees? If so, how do I control them?

Incidentally, some of the leaves on my trees are already yellowing and falling even though we're still in the middle of summer. I can't be sure, but I suspect that these insects are at least partially responsible, as they appear to be more concentrated on yellowing leaves that haven't yet fallen. Here's an example of a yellow, damaged leaf that I picked up off the ground (from a common Cedar Elm):

leaf front leaf back

I'll post a separate question about the leaves if it seems unrelated.

  • They look like a type of moth.
    – beta
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 1:54
  • I thought so too, but so far Googling things like "common Texas moths" or "moth identification" hasn't led me to anything. I'm also not sure whether they're adult-stage or still young (i.e,. they may be hard to identify based on adult-stage photos).
    – Bungle
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 2:42
  • 1
    Moths have the same life cycle as butterflies - egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (cocoon), and adult. Those are definitely adults if they are moths (and I think they are). I think there are just too many different types of moths that is the issue. I did spend about an hour on google image search and although I found similarly shaped moths I couldn't find any with those markings.
    – beta
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 2:46

1 Answer 1


Metcalfa pruinosa, the citrus flatid planthopper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalfa_pruinosa "As it feeds, it causes serious damages to field crops and ornamental plants." So yes, it is damaging your plants.


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