A fellow on one of the Lepidopterists' Society mailing lists saw that posting and sent me these pictures and a brief explanation.
If I heard correctly, this infestation of budworms is coming on the tail of the other infestations, so trees in that area have gotten hammered hard for several years in a row. It's not a happy situation.Last week I was able to take photos of a large number of western spruce budworm moths at the Ford Dealership in Salmon, ID. ... There is a large outbreak in the area (from Lost Trail Pass south on 93 to Stanley, ID). Douglas-fir, subalpine fir and lodgepole pine are experiencing high defoliation levels (50-100% loss of new shoots). The forest service, region 4 has issued pest alerts for budworm as well as Douglas-fir tussock moth and mountain pine beetle in this same area.
I thought you might enjoy seeing how dense congregations of the adults can get, and how much variety there is in the adult moths.
Pictures by Jeffrey Fidgen, Lands Program Manager, Idaho Dept of Lands. Reproduced by permission. (Thanks, Jeff and Richard!)