Vancouver’s Mothpocalypse

Phantom Hemlock Looper Moth in Frame

An outbreak of Hemlock looper, and Phantom Hemlock Looper moths has recently taken over the city or Vancouver.  It became a media sensation. The locals have started to notice, and I personally think it’s hilarious that people have dubbed the outbreak The Mothpocalypse! It’s like a horror movies title from the fifties.

I’m sure you’re all aware by now that I’m a big fan of Lepidopterology.

Naturally I couldn’t risk upsetting our new overlords. So to commemorate their successful invasion, which is the first natural phenomenon I’ve experienced since moving here. I have decided to paint one!

Phantom Hemlock Looper Moth in Frame
Phantom Hemlock Looper Moth, Framed

The Mothpocalypse


These little guys won’t eat your clothes if they get inside. So don’t hide the sweaters. It’s fine.

Instead they like to eat coniferous trees. You might be surprised to know that the outbreak actually benefits the forest here on the coast. Because the hemlock looper only feeds on coniferous trees like the Hemlock, they help clear away dead growth and make room for new growth. Yeah they can cause problems for younger trees, but it is a natural cycle. 

The “Mothpocalypse” actually started last summer. We are technically in the second year of the outbreak. It’s a cycle which historically happens every 11-15 years and typically lasts two to three years.

Check out the news article about it here.

Oh.. and American friends. VOTE! 

About The Original

The original took a few hours to complete, and is modelled by a Phantom Hemlock Looper Moth I photographed while we visited the Capilano suspension bridge last month. Which is still open to the public if you’re interested in checking it out! 

A Phantom Hemlock Looper in the wild!

It’s not the most clear photograph, so I did use a few other references to get the wings correctly.

Phantom Hemlock Looper
Phantom Hemlock Looper

It is technically a mixed media painting, because I used a combination of coloured pencil, and watercolour. The original measures 3.5”x5.5” inches. 

It has been set in a wooden frame, with a distressed white finish. The outside of the frame measures 5.75”x7.75” inches. 

Hopefully you enjoyed this little outbreak as much as I did. It was definitely something I’ve never experienced in Alberta. 

Stay Creative,

Justin Erickson

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