Get Ready for Moth Week!
National Moth Week is July 20-28, 2019
Yes, July in Texas is hot. But life goes on in our prairies. Summer is a good time to observe the insects and reptiles that live there. Evenings can be very interesting. Why not start with moths? National Moth Week is a worldwide Citizen Science event, held during the last full week of July. This is a chance for everyone to contribute observations about our moths. Check out nationalmothweek.org.
- Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
- Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
- Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes.
- Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen – others fly like butterflies during the day.
- Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.
Here are some tips from nationalmothweek.org:
Set up lights
- Any type of light will attract moths. Just leave a porch light on and wait and see what is attracted to it. If you are in the field, you can use battery-operated lights or even a flashlight. Entomologists use black lights and mercury vapor lights, which emit light in a color spectrum that moths find irresistible.
- Moths need a surface to rest on. White sheets are often used. Hang a sheet and shine the light on it. An outside wall also works well if your light is set up near a building.
- Wait for the moths to come to your light so you can observe and photograph them.
Sugaring for moths
- Moths can smell food from a distance. When provided with fermented sugar and fruit, they will fly right to it. This method of attracting moth is simply called ‘sugaring’. Read more about sugaring for moths ….
- Make “moth food” A mix of sugar, fruit (banana, peach or other overripe fruit) and beer will work. Try Dave’s not-so-secret recipe.
- Brush the mix on a surface an hour before dusk.
- Check every 30 minutes to see what’s coming to the bait.
Have a party!
Invite your family and friends to join you for a mothing party. If you are mothing with children, check out the kids page for more ideas.