Why everyone should give moth trapping a go!

This season has been so great for me learning new things such as running guided walks and leading events. There is one thing however that I have always wanted to get into and that is moth trapping. I really like the idea of trying to identify something new and pick out all its features. I think that is why I am so into bird watching.

Moths come in all shapes, sizes and colours and that is what makes them so amazing. You can get really tiny ones known as micros and the larger ones called macros. Macros are a lot easier to identify so it is best to start with them. There are over 2500 moths found in the British Isles so it is great hobby to have as there are always new finds.

Green Arches (C) Michael Butler
Green Arches (C) Michael Butler

A moth trap is not as sinister as it sounds as no moths are actually harmed in the trapping process. It is essentially a bright light with a bucket that the moths fall in. Then in the bucket you place egg boxes for them to rest and sleep on. The light is left on overnight in order to attract as many moths as possible. Then in the morning you come to the trap and open it up and see what you have. That is part of the joy; it is like opening presents at Christmas as you never know what you might have. The best weather for moth trapping tends to be cloudy as this means there is no moon. A slight breeze is needed so the pheromones of the moths get wafted around and finally quite warm in order to make the moths active.

I have had so many good finds a couple even that have not been recorded for the site which is great. I really want to get a hawkmoth in my trap so I always have my fingers crossed for one of those but no such luck yet. There are always interesting moths in my trap anyway so I do not mind the lack the hawkmoths. So far my highlights include peppered moth, heralds, green silver lines, green arches and scorched wing and I am sure there are plenty more to come.

Scorched Wing (C) Michael Butler
Scorched Wing (C) Michael Butler

I think the best thing about moth trapping is the fact that anyone can do this. Everyone can go out and make their own moth trap out of something really easy such as a white blanket and a bright torch and moths will come. So go out and give it a try then report back to me what you have found.

An example of a homemade moth trap (C) Jack Perks
An example of a homemade moth trap (C) Jack Perks

Feel free to send in what you find to fallsofclyde@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Mike Butler – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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Preface

This season has been so great for me learning new things such as running guided walks and leading events. There is one thing however that I have always wanted to …

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