Black and yellow moths are dominant in the Eastern parts of North America.
Offering a contrasting appearance, these moths can also be black and orange or they may be tricolored, with orange and yellow nuances that show additional black patterns.
Some yellow and black moths are considered pests. They can invade gardens and cause serious problems such as tree defoliation.
The following species of black and yellow or black and orange moths can be seen across North America.
Table of Contents
1. Ailanthus Webworm Moth
Found in the Southern US territories, The Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea) is a species with black and orange nuances with additional yellow sections across its wings.
There’s a difference in the coloring of its forewings and the coloring of its hindwings, as with almost all species of moths.
Its forewings are mostly orange, with yellow spots that feature black borders.
The yellow spots on its orange forewings can be small or large, depending on its region.
Its hindwings have a smoky-white color with gray margins.
Yellow, orange, and dark gray sections are also specific to the body of the moth, a species known for its love of tree of paradise trees, a species of the tropics expanding to North America
Range – Florida, Central America, South America, China
2. Black-bordered Lemon Moth
Both black and yellow and orange and yellow color combinations can be seen on Black-bordered Lemon Moths (Marimatha nigrofimbria).
These moths are seen in a bright yellow base color or a vivid orange base color.
Both morphs show black decorations on the wings. These include black spots and black margins, but only on the forewings.
The hindwings also have margins, but they’re dark orange, brown, or dark yellow.
More pronounced nuances are also specific to its forewings while its hindwings show pale colors.
Reaching a size of up to 0.8 inches, Black-bordered Lemon Moths are found in The United States. They can be spotted up until November in the state of Texas.
Range – Eastern United States, Southern United States
3. Eight-spotted Forester Moth
Black, yellow, and orange colors are all seen on The Eight-spotted Forested Moth (Alypia octomaculata).
This is a species with wings that can fold up which are mostly black. Large yellow and orange spots are seen across its wings.
The legs of these moths are black and orange while its antennae are mostly black.
The wingspan of the species typically doesn’t measure more than 1.2 inches.
Caterpillars of this species are also contrasting, with white, orange, and black color combinations.
This is a species found in Southern and Southeastern US States. It feeds on various vine leaves around the garden.
Seen from early spring, this moth species can breed once or twice per year.
Range – Eastern United States and Canada, Southern United States
4. Harnessed Tiger Moth
A common sight on clover and corn crops, the damaging Harnessed Tiger Moths (Apantesis phalerata) are a constant species in North America.
High populations of the moth can negatively impact crops and they require management.
Identification is based on their contrasting appearance. These moths can be orange and black, yellow and black, or tri-colored.
The tricolored morph shows yellow and black forewings. The hindwings are black, yellow, and orange.
Its orange sections are found on the inner hindwings, close to the body.
Black patterns also differ from the forewings to the hindwings. There are extra black sections on the forewings with just a small black margin on the hindwings.
Range – Eastern North America
5. Bold-feathered Grass Moth
Yellow and black colors are seen on the wings and body of The Bold-feathered Grass Moth (Herpetogramma pertextalis).
This is a species spotted in different yellow nuances with a tendency towards pale yellow. Gray or black wave patterns can be seen along its wings.
Golden-yellow Bold-feathered Grass Moths are also common. A yellow-gold nuance can be spotted on some moths both on their wings and on their body.
As the name of the moth implies, this is a species that lays eggs in grass.
Its bright caterpillars can be found on lawns and in gardens.
While it can feed on grass, the caterpillar of these moths isn’t a true problem for lawns. Its eating habits aren’t as destructive as those of other caterpillars.
Even more, The Black-feathered Grass Moth Caterpillars can also feed on other plants and flowers.
Range – The United States
6. Leconte’s Haploa Moth
A species found around woodlands and nettle, Leconte’s Haploa Moths (Haploa lecontei) are highly contrasting.
While the species comes in different morphs, white and black colors are dominant.
Its white wings have black margins and patterns. The head of the moth is orange, yellow, or yellow-orange.
A common presence in gardens, parks, and woodlands, this is a species that also has an almost black caterpillar with additional yellow bands.
When in gardens, this species may also feed on fruits or the leaves of different types of hardwood trees.
Range – Eastern United States
7. Orange-patched Smoky Moth
Black and orange or black and yellow, The Orange-patched Smoky Moth (Pyromorpha dimidiata) is among the multiple species of mostly black moths in North America.
Its presence on crops and gardens is a warning sign as the species feeds on various vines. The softer outer parts of vine leaves are eaten and may inhibit plant growth.
The species can appear in March which means the moth gets to impact vines directly as they begin their growth period in the spring and into the summer.
Most moths of this species are active until August.
Their aposematic black and orange or black and yellow colors also means these moths have fever natural predators compared to other species.
Range – Eastern US
8. Bedstraw Hawkmoth
Orange, yellow, and black colors are seen on Bedstrawk Hawkmoths (Hyles gallii).
This is a nectar-feeding species with olive-brown hairy bodies and multicolored wings.
Yellow is the main color of the inner forewings while pink-orange is seen on the inner sections of the hindwings.
Both the forewings and the hindwings have black margins.
Feeding on various plants, these moths can eat both weeds and decorative flowers.
Normally only seen around coniferous woodlands in the Northern parts of the continent, these types of moths can live in areas with lilac, which they also feed on.
Their caterpillars are very easy to identify based on their distinct appearance.
Mostly black, these caterpillars have yellow-orange or pink eyespots in their last instar and an olive color in the early growth stages.
Range – Northern US, Southern Canada
9. Common Spragueia Moth
A small moth that may only reach a wingspan of up to 0.7 inches, The Common Spragueia Moth (Spragueia leo) is a species with colorful forewings.
Its forewings are both yellow and orange with black margins and patterns.
The bright orange base color of the wings is backed by yellow spots and black spots as well as black upper margins.
The hindwings of the moth have a tan to brown color and lack black patterns across the forewings.
Native to The United States, The Common Spragueia Moth is also a species that can be brown, white, and black.
Range – Southeastern United States
10. Orange-spotted Flower Moth
Orange, yellow, and black are the 3 colors of The Orange-spotted Flower Moth (Syngamia florella).
This is a species with yellow and black wings. Its upper body also shows a combination of yellow and black patterns.
The hindwings of the species also carry a similar black and yellow pattern.
Orange marks the color of the lower part of its body.
Multiple hosts have been recorded for the species and they include West Indian Buttonweed.
Range – Southeastern United States
11. Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth
Yellow-orange and black are the main colors of the Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth (Lycomorpha pholus).
Its forewings are partially black and partially yellow or orange. Its hindwings are mostly black.
Yellow or orange spots are seen on the inner part of the hindwings while the body is mostly black.
As its name implies, this species of moth feeds on lichen and it may take a few years to go through a full cycle from egg to adulthood.
Its caterpillars are also black and yellow, showing a distinct pattern of alternating color bands.
Reaching a wingspan of over 1 inch, this small moth is found in an expansive territory in the Eastern parts of North America.
Range – Eastern Canada, Eastern United States
12. Virgin Tiger Moth
Seen in different colors, Virgin Tiger Moths (Apantesis virgo) are among the species with yellow or orange-dominant bright nuances.
The moths come in yellow and black morphs or yellow and orange morphs.
In some cases, they even have scarlet red hindwings.
Yellow and black are dominant on the forewings while the hindwings may have the same or another color combination.
Reduced black patterns are also specific to the hindwings while the body is yellow and black.
Range – Northeastern US
13. Ornate Tiger Moth
Yellow, orange, and black nuances are specific to the tricolored Ornate Tiger Moth (Apantesis ornata).
This is a species with brighter forewings which are yellow and black.
Black patterns cover its forewings and its upper body while its hindwings are orange and black.
A species found in woodlands, on prairies, and along roads, Ornate Tiger Moths live even in the Northern US states.
Some color variation is specific to its wings, depending on each region.
For example, there’s an Ornate Tiger Moth morph that’s only yellow and black.
A species known for having different patterns on the hindwings from the forewings, Ornate Tiger Moths may show the same color pattern on the hindwings.
Range – Northern United States, Western Canada
14. Confused Haploa Moth
Varying colors are specific to The Confused Haploa Moth (Haploa confusa).
This is a species with mostly white wings but much of the decorations of its forewings and hindwings can come in different colors.
From black to brown, these contrasting patterns are visible on its forewings.
Yellow and orange sections are also seen on its hindwings. These bright nuances are seen on the head of the moth as well.
While not white, The Confused Haploa Moth is also a species that comes in black and yellow caterpillar color combinations.
Sometimes found in cream variants, these moths feed on weeds and wildflowers.
Dog’s tongues are among its most common floral hosts.
Range – Northeastern United States
15. Nais Tiger Moth
Flowers and grasses attract Nais Tiger Moths (Apantesis nais). Found along woodlands and on open grassy fields, these moths have a contrasting appearance.
White and black or cream and black forewings are mostly characteristic of the moth.
Its hindwings come with a yellow base color while the body of the species is darker yellow and black.
Yellow-orange nuances may also be spotted on the upper body size of the moth, closer to the head.
Spring, summer, and fall mark the peak activity period of this overwintering species.
Naist Tiger Moths are seen across different US states with an expanded range up to Canada.
Range – East of The Rocky Mountains
16. Texas Wasp Moth
A wasp-mimicking moth, Texas Wasp Moths (Horama panthalon) look and act like wasps.
These moths have an elongated body and narrower wings compared to other moths.
The body is mostly black, with yellow and orange bands.
Its wings are mostly black, as are its long antennae. Orange and black color combinations are also seen on its legs.
Growing to a wingspan of 1-2 inches, Texas Wasp Moths can also come in other morphs.
A yellow and black morph and an orange and black morph are also characteristic of this species.
Much of their yellow or orange coloring is impacted by the flowers it visits.
Range – Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America
17. Packard’s Lichen Moth
Woodlands mark the ideal territory for Packard’s Lichen Moth (Cisthene packardii).
Feeding on lichens, these types of moths are found even in the upper states of The US and regions of New York.
Commonly seen in parks and woodlands, these moths have black, yellow, orange, and pink or red wings.
Black sections tend to be dominant on the forewings. Pale yellow or even cream variant patterns are further visible on the wings.
Red, orange, or pink overlays may sometimes be spotted over the bright patterns of the wings.
This species has a short season in the Northern states, up until August, and a longer almost throughout-the-year season in Southern states.
Range – East of The Rocky Mountains
18. Thin-banded Lichen Moth
Yellow, orange, and black are the 3 main colors of The Thin-banded Lichen Moth (Cisthene tenuifascia).
Named after the preference of its caterpillars for lichen, these types of moths have mostly black wings with yellow and orange contrasting patterns.
A yellow-orange vertex is specific to The Thin-banded Lichen Moth.
This is a species that becomes active in March and which may still be active into early fall as it prefers to live in the Southern US states.
Range – Arizona to Florida
19. Half-yellow Moth
Yellow, black, brown, and orange represent the main colors of The Half-yellow Moth (Ponometia semiflava).
This species is named after its vivid yellow color that covers almost half of the visible forewings while the other half is black.
Its hindwings have a yellow-brown color. Its body is bright and dark.
A yellow color is specific to the upper side of the body which may also show an orange nuance.
The lower side of the body has a darker yellow-brown color.
Moths of this species have a short season that lasts up until mid-summer in the Northern limits of its range.
It has a slightly longer season in the South, where it remains active through the summer.
Range – Eastern United States
20. Oak Leafshredder Moth
Native North American, Oak Leafshredder Moths (Acleris semipurpurana) are some of the most problematic types of yellow and black moths.
Their impact ranges from limited to severe as they feed on oak tree leaves.
An example of a limited impact includes spotting just a few damaged leaves with holes in them.
Severe impact includes complete tree defoliation, which is rare.
These types of moths have a yellow and black color or a yellow and dark brown color.
Its yellow nuances range from lemon to golden yellow while its morph with brown patterns may come in different shades of brown.
Range – Eastern United States, Southeastern Canada
21. Obtuse Yellow
A species that mimics dying yellow leaves, Obtuse Yellow moths (Azenia obtusa) are tricolored.
Dark yellow dominates the appearance of its wings which are contrasted by dark brown spots.
Dark brown margins are also seen on the upper side of its forewings while the head is black.
The legs of Obtuse Yellow moths are also yellow, brown, and black.
Its colorful wings are adapted to the colors of its host plants which include Giant ragweed.
Range – Eastern United States
22. Hieroglyphic Moth
Pea family plants and mallow are the typical hosts of The Hieroglyphic Moth (Diphthera festiva), a species also found in The United States.
Mostly found across Florida and in Southern Georgia, these types of moths are named after the black patterns of the forewings which resemble hieroglyphs.
Yellow forewings with black stripes and dots are spotted on the species. This is also a moth with black and yellow hindwings.
Brown morph hindwings are also spotted in some areas of its range which is mostly outside of The United States.
Range – Florida, Central America, South America