Backyard mothing with Carl Barrentine in Spokane, Washington, USA

Carl Barrentine, participants since 2013 and National Moth Week team member, is documenting moth species flying in his backyard. Carl will share his methods and findings in a series of daily videos during National Moth Week 2020.

This short video introduces 100 species of moths–of perhaps 160 species–that I’ve found and photographed in my backyard during National Moth Week 2020. These 100 species represent only 4 of nearly 40 moth families I can expect to find in my backyard over the course of any given year. It’s too early to say for certain, but I think that by the close of this mothing season (December 2020) I will have photographed close to a cumulative 700 species of moths in my backyard over the three years I’ve been looking, 2018-2020. That’s pretty amazing! Happy Moth-watching to you, from Spokane, Washington (26 July 2020). Keep the light on!
This short video illustrates how I employ a portable and light weight 12 volt, 15 watt DC light lure and ‘hamper trap’ contraption that is useful for field applications where there is no access to electricity. Spokane, Washington (25 July 2020).
This short video introduces three internet resources that I reference daily during the mothing season. These resources include Moth Photographers Group, Bug Guide and Pacific Northwest Moths. In this video I employ all three resources to help me identify a moth that I photographed here in my backyard this morning. Spokane, Washington (23 July 2020).
This video introduces my experience as a moth-watcher for seven years in the Upper Midwest and now for three years the Pacific Northwest. This video also introduces various books that have been helpful resources to me as I have struggled–and continue to struggle!–to learn my local moths. Finally, the last part of the video summarizes by three-year effort to find, photograph and identify the moths found right here in my own backyard here in south Spokane, Washington (23 July 2020).
This short video briefly addresses the frustrations of getting good photographs of moths. I share a few insights or techniques that I’ve learned–by trial and error–over my ten year trek into moth macrophotography. Realize that my aim is really about ‘moth portraiture’ rather than ‘moth photography,’ and so information shared here may not be particularly relevant for those who get good images of moths on illuminated sheets at night.
This short video illustrates how to set up a ‘hamper trap’ and/or a ‘bucket trap to lure moths in your backyard. Light sources include the CFL UV black light bulb and/or a disarmed UV bug zapper as light-lures. The importance of well-placed egg trays is also discussed in this video. Spokane, Washington (21 July 2020).
This short video introduces two types of lights that seem to work well as ‘light lures’ for moths: these include mercury vapor (MV) and ultraviolet (UV) options. In addition, I make a strong recommendation for employing easily ‘disarmed’ (and inexpensive) used ‘bug zappers’ as ‘light lures’ for moths. Spokane, Washington (20 July 2020).
In this video we look at the contents of one of the ‘hamper traps’ with an eye to noticing the shapes and sizes of moths. As with identifying birds, shape and size are usually the first two criteria for identifying a moth. Learning the families of moths (by recognizing their characteristic shapes and sizes) helps one to later find the genus and then particular species of a moth. There are 40 families of moths (and 5 families of butterflies) in my backyard over the course of a year here in Spokane, Washington (19 July 2020).
Recommendations for storing live moths and unloading egg trays (with moths) from the ‘hamper trap’, Spokane, Washington (18 July 2020).
An introduction to ‘Porch Light Biology’ that includes a brief look at two different designs for backyard ‘Hamper Traps’ employed to lure and catch moths for biological studies. Spokane, Washington (17 July 2020).
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