Moth night just right!

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Moth night just right!

Moth night just right! image

Conditions at The Ecology Centre moth watch night held in early August were just perfect for moths and volunteers alike!  A warm, still night brought out hundreds of beautiful moths who were attracted to the home made moth traps set by our volunteers.

Alison Greggans, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Citizen Science champion at The Ecology Centre was joined not just by local volunteers but by an official moth recorder for Fife and Kinross and local moth expert Gerald Lincoln.  Read about their night below.

Wednesday 8th August 2013
By Alison Greggans

I was absolutely delighted and encouraged that 16 people came over the course of the night to help with the moth trapping and that we had a couple of experts on hand to help with the identifying. 

We used a variety of methods for trapping the moths ranging from a more scientific light box to sticky sugary solutions on trees and ropes.  It is fairly common knowledge that moths are attracted to light, but not so widely known that moths have a very keen sense of smell.  This is in fact how they find their mate and the so  the sugary, beery sweet smelling solution coated to lengths of rope or brushed onto tree trunks and fence posts was too good to resist!  While feeding on the sugar, the alcohol they take in as a by-product makes them drowsy, so it’s easy to see them and admire their colours. 

While we waited for the moths to come to the various traps, we went on a night site walk, looking for bats. There were plenty of common Pipestrelle flying around and it was lovely just smelling the night time scents and listening to the wildfowl nestling and settling on the loch.

Next morning we opened the traps and this was our tally:
Total number of moths 1083
Total different species 68
A Pretty Pinion was our most notable species
In one trap we captured 492 moths, and in another 521

Compared to last year, this was quite a cou-de-ta.
Last year ...
Total number of moths 295
Total different species 54

If you would like to make the sweet moth trapping solution used at The Ecology Centre follow our recipes below:

Solution for trees & fence posts
Bottle of stout
1.5kg brown sugar
1 tin black treacle
Shot whiskey
2-3 good drops of vanilla essence

Combine all of the above ingredients and warm to melt the sugar and treacle.  Once you have a thick tar like substance, paint to fence posts or trees

Wine Ropes
Use all of the ingredients above but replace the bottle of stout with a cheap bottle of red wine.

Combine all the ingredients and warm to melt the sugar and treacle.  This mixture has a thinner consistency and is perfect for soaking your ropes/rags in and hanging on trees etc.

Point to note – Don’t worry about getting this on your fingers, it tastes delicious!

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