Venezuela is commonly known for its rich flora and fauna and its magnificent landscapes. It is a beautiful country with many wonders yet to discover. I’m Yezzy, a psychologist and a nature enthusiast who lives in a city called Maracaibo; one of the hottest and most humid cities in Venezuela, located west of the capital city, Caracas. I decided to join National Moth Week because Lisa Johnson, a friend and former science teacher of mine, invited me to the event. She knows how I have always had an interest in nature and science and over time she has shared with me her own experiences watching moths and identifying them. I decided to try it myself, for fun, and to check out what species of moths would come to our lights. I never thought I would be so thrilled with mothing; even my teenage sister joined me through the whole process and is now making a notebook to record our research. I’ve seen moths in my city before, especially before raining season (Sept – Oct) or when we have very humid days, since we live close to a lake, humidity is always present.
It was quite late when I joined the NMW this year, but that didn’t stop me from leaving the lights on. We started setting up at dusk on July 30th in my backyard by hanging an old pale colored sheet and leaving the lights on until midnight. We went out every couple of minutes to check for any moth visitors but we didn’t get any for several hours. My sister was pretty pepped up about it and insisted on waiting a couple of hours past the end of NMW for them to appear. When we checked for the last time that night, we found a small visitor at last! It was very tiny and it moved around so much that we didn’t get the chance to photograph it unfortunately, but we both were so happy that at least one moth came to our first mothing night.
Before going to sleep we discussed our night and thought about possible reasons why we didn’t see many moths; maybe the light was not bright enough to attract them, maybe the type of light bulb was not the best, maybe we checked on them too frequently, maybe we need to use bait, maybe the season was not good for mothing, maybe the plants around the sheet might have made a confined area that the moths did not like. We have so many questions and so much to learn. We have already started researching to become better moth-ers. Soon, we hope, we will be learning how to improve our night time photography skills too.
This was our first night mothing and even though we didn’t attract many moths, we had so much fun. We will continue setting up mothing nights during the year and invite our friends and family to join and share in our discoveries.
We can hardly wait for next year’s NMW!