July marks the beginning of the peak season for moth trapping, when large numbers of moth species can be attracted to artificial light sources. Put simply, a moth trap is a special bulb attached to a power source which sits on top of a modified box to catch them in. We purchased our moth trap last year, thanks to a kind grant, and it proved a particularly enjoyable activity for those involved in the gardens and conservation work here at Caring For Life.
Moth trapping is enjoyable for two main reasons. Firstly it involves the thrill of seeing what beautiful moth might lurk inside the box ( hidden under the egg boxes where they settle for the night). And, yes, I did say ‘beautiful moth’! For moths are not just brown and boring but have amazingly intricate patterns and even vivid colours to match the brightest of butterflies.
Secondly, moth trapping involves the equally thrilling activity of learning something new. There are something like 2,500 species of moth found in Britain and all of the larger (macro) moths have common English names. Finding something new in the trap gives the opportunity to learn about that species, when it flies, its life cycle, what its larva feeds on, what habitat it requires and how widely distributed it is.
This then gives opportunity to discuss the conservation work we do here on the farm highlighting how even something small like a moth can be an important pollinator and a vital part of the food chain for many bird, mammal and spider species.
Unfortunately our beneficiaries are unable to take part in this activity whilst projects are temporarily closed, so we made a film just for them showing the results from one evening’s moth trapping, to send to them at home.