We are looking forward to our annual Moth Breakfast. We hang our moth sheet and UV lights and the moths come. Then comes dawn and enough moths stay to delight the humans who arrive to be amazed at the moths. We serve coffee and doughnuts and sit on the lawn in front of the moth sheet and talk about what fascinating creatures moths are.
This year promises to be a little different. We have been getting a Luna or two in recent nights. But that’s not new; what is new to us is an invasion of browntail moths. We have had them in the hundreds for the past few nights.
This invasive species has been around for some years but only recently made it up the coast of Maine to where we are. They defoliate trees and the urticating hairs on the caterpillars cause severe rash and even respiratory problems for humans.
We offered workshops and made it a point to remove from public places as many of the browntail winter webs as we could last February. Total eradication is unlikely but perhaps that helped cut down the numbers where we hold our moth breakfast.
Good moths? Bad moths? Lovely moths? Fantastic moths? THOUSANDS of species of moths live in Maine. Most all the rest are not a problem. In fact 98% of them are quiet vegetarians that go about their business not bothering us humans.
This year we may well get both browntails and a Luna or two. You can bet that we will be talking about diversity, ecosystems, balance, and human actions and responsibilities.
Happy moth watching!
Marnie will be serving Moth Breakfast in Deer Isle, Maine, USA.