Friday, 13 February 2015

Moth frustration

There is something about my back garden that means that there will be a lack of moths until March. I have, in the past, used the MV successfully during the months of January and February, trapped the usual suspects (Small Brindled Beauty, Brindled Beauty, Chestnut, Early Moth, Dotted Border, etc), but... it is by no means a done deal that anything will come to the light at Gale Towers.

So far this year I have trapped on three nights, admittedly with poor maximum temperatures (3-4 degrees) and have amassed the grand total of ZERO moths - not even a Light Brown Apple Moth. Meanwhile there are other local lepidopterists happily trapping away and getting results. It's got to the point where I'm switching my bulbs over just in case something is wrong with them!

I have noticed that during the winter it is easier to trap larger numbers of moths, and of a wider range of species, out in the countryside, preferably in woodland. The suburbs just doesn't cut it. My fellow Surrey mothers in Wimbledon are doing well, but they are situated on the edge of the common - I'm sure that if I bordered Banstead Woods I wouldn't be writing this sorry post. But, at this time of year just a small success is exciting, so I will keep switching the MV on and inspecting an empty trap - because, very soon, there will be something in it.

Pale Brindled Beauty - just not from this year...

8 comments:

  1. Have seen a few light brown apple moths around folks' house, my staggeringly limited knowledge of moths doesn't stop me identifying these!

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    1. I would be quite happy with just the one of them Simon!

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  2. Steve, even living in the moth migrant heaven that is Weymouth means zilch at this time of year. You are spot on with your observation, if you 'go out to the woods' you will catch moths. However, here on the borders of the Weymouth suburbs my efforts have been, to say the least, lacklustre. Several nights trapping have resulted in three different Chestnuts so far this year. Not really worth the Leccy. Things will improve I am sure.....

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    1. Bomber, to be assured that there are others out there suffering the same 'results' as me is comforting. All the best for the rest of the year and may you hoover up the migrants!

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  3. Last night was my 5th night in two weeks that I have blanked, yet when I lifted a box out of my shed today an Agonopterix heracliana flew out of it! What can you do eh! Its on again tonight.
    PS Never seen Small Brindled Beauty and only one Brindled Beauty up on Speyside. Neither occur here....

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  4. Hi Steve
    It has been a very hard this year and out of 8 years running a trap, it is joint worst with the cold start of 2012 at the moment at 9 moths of 7 species from the back garden.
    But...I do back on to a narrowish Bridlepath and I think most of my moths come from the 200+ yr old Oaks that were left when they built around this area.
    This time last year I was up to 27 moths of 12 species in comparison!

    Just keep at it, and also if you have an Actinic? Try that, as It got me 2 moths the other night after blanking with the MV the previous night in similar conditions.

    All the best.
    Ben

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  5. Stewart and Ben: thanks for the encouragement. I'm off to Dungeness for a few days but with renew the moth battle when I return!

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  6. I`ve forgot what Moths are Steve. (I don`t have and can`t afford a trap) so i have to rely on other light sources, but there`s nowhere near as many of them as there was on my old patch!!

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