I meant to give light trapping a shot this past summer -- to catch #moths ya know? -- but I never found the time or the equipment to do it. I got this worksheet at a nature educators' retreat last year.
Perhaps someone can get more use out of it than me. Hopefully next year I'll make it happen. 🐞
@OCRbot if you please 💚
OCR Output (chars: 4500)
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LIGHT TRAPPING FOR MOTHS
There has been a lot of discussion on why moths are attracted to light. The consensus seems to hold that
moths are not so much attracted to lights as they are trapped by them. The light becomes a sensory overload
that disorients the insects and sends them into a holding pattern. In their attempts to escape they end up
circling again and again until coming to rest.
Elaborate light traps can be purchased from places like Bio Quip, but
you can also make your own traps using simple methods described
For ease of our viewing white sheets are used for a variety of insect
collection and trapping. A cheap flat cotton sheet works well. Hang it
vertically over a clothesline or tied up to trees like a tarp, with weight
on the bottom to keep the sheet taught. You can also lay a sheet on
the ground underneath your vertical sheet, or attach it flat to a table.
Any type of single bulb lamps will work shined onto or in front of the white sheet. A spring-clamp light works
perfectly to attach to a variety of surfaces such as trees, stakes or other mounting arms. A bug zapper with a
disabled electrifying grid can be hung from above. For remote sites battery powered flashlights or camping
lanterns can be used, but for all night use a larger battery setup is required. You can take a page from history
books and use a candle or candle powered lanterns!
Although standard white bulbs do attract moths, preferable are black lights or even better mercury vapor lights.
They emit a broader spectrum of light which increases the amount of moths than can “receive” the light
signals. Some have luck using bright Halogen spot lights to “draw” them in, but turn it off after a while in favor
of black lights to “hold” them for photos.
PLACEMENT AND OPERATION
Open areas such as field edges, yards or trails are the best spot to bring in moths from a further distance.
You basically want to draw in moths from as many angles as possible, and from different habitats.
Using a headlamp or other light source, check both sides of the sheet and the ground for resting moths. Most
are easily observed, photographed or collected. A plastic jar or cassette case can be used for temporary
collection and viewing of the underside.
Maths will be present throughout the night and frequent checks will usually produce
different species. Moth numbers peak just after dark until about 1 a.m. A check right
at dusk can be worthwhile as most will be perched somewhere for the day and easier
to photograph. After first light most disperse or get eaten. If you find that birds or
other insects are learning to “feed” off your sheets, you should shake your sheet
clean when you are done or after your first check in the morning. If the problem
persists move the location of the sheet.
Moth activity varies a lot depending on various atmospheric conditions. Generally,
the best nights are on and around the New Moon (this is because your artificial lights
have less competition from moonlight). Moths also seem to prefer warm, windless,
humid, and cloudy nights (some drizzle doesn't bother them). Temperatures
generally need to be in the 40's or above
Common Moth Families
A guide to typical resting positions and characteristics. Sizes are approximate.
Gelechiidae _Tineidae a ( q dae
mai o hs"
wirler moths”"Fungus moths” 7. icidae "Crambids”
“Clearwing borers" "Slug moths”
“Tent and forest caterpillar moths”
Notodontidae “Silk moths” "Hawk moths” : Moth Week
“Prominents” All text and images ©Brigette Zacharczenko 2015 2015
Other Nocturnal Insects
Typically attracted to lights. Identified by: Order (Family)
A Hemiptera (Belostomatidae)
"Stonefly” "Giant water bug”
All text and images ©Brigette Zacharczenko 2015
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