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Moth Trapping

Trapping sounds a bit cruel doesn’t it? But it really isn’t. Moth trapping is just the name given to the activity of simply attracting moths to a light source or food source so that you can take a closer look at them, and with 2500 different species of moths in the UK, you’re sure to find something interesting!

You can get some very elaborate and expensive equipment for moth trapping, but it really isn’t necessary, and for a beginner there are a few simple things you can do to get going.

This helpful info graphic from Wildlife Watch explains how you can use a simple white bedsheet as a dazzling canvas that moths cannot resist. Hang the bedsheet from a washing line or fence and shine a torch on it, or lay it on the lawn with a bright garden lantern in the centre and wait for the moths to arrive.

If you don’t have a white bedsheet to hand, try simply going out into the garden when it’s dark with a bright torch. All moths are attracted to light, although it’s not fully understood why, so will find your torch light hard to resist. You can buy a butterfly net fairly cheaply and try to capture moths in order to identify them. Carefully place captured moths into a jam jar or pot to study, identify or photograph them, but remember to be extra careful, and always release them afterwards.

Finally, a very simple way of trapping moths is to open your bathroom window at night and leave the light on for an hour or so. Moths will fly in and you can check the bathroom later for winged guests!

What moths can you spot? Look out for the pink Elephant Hawk-moth, green Large Emeralds or yellow Brimstones. There are literally thousands to discover and, with plenty of online identification resources as well as books on the subject, finding out which moth you’ve trapped shouldn’t be too difficult.

Happy mothing!

An Emerald Moth

A Brimstone Moth

An Elephant Hawk Moth

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