Happy New Year to all moth’ers!
National Moth Week 2016 will be held during the last full week of July, 23 – 31.
Let us know if you need additional information or have any questions. Contact us – click here.
Spooky Seasons event at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is an annual kid’s hands-on program that invites families to spend some time exploring the things that some people find scary: bats, owls, nocturnal animals and learn more about them so their fears are lessened. Through theme tables participants might become a bat and flap their “wings” the way bats do, or whisper into a sound tube to hear how echolocation works. This year we included a moth table where children and their families looked at live moths through magnifiers, and colored the moth pictures for National Moth Week. It was very popular and a perfect compliment to the nearby bat table where moths represented a bat food source during a bat food beanbag toss. We had over 300 people attend the 4 hour event!!
Here are some of the moths that the kids colored (click on the picture to see it):
NMW participant Marcie O’Connor wrote about her event, or Moth Party, on her blog ‘Prairie Haven‘. The party included hiking, food and of course moths… There was no moth cake this year, but Anne promised to make one for next year’s Moth Party.
National Moth Week 2016 will be held July 23-31. Click here to register and event.
Learn about why and how to submit moth observation – click here.
High Park ( Toronto, Canada) Moth Night was held on July 22, 2015:
Highlights: A tiny Mea skinnerella appears to be the first record for Ontario. Many other micros boosted the count total, but larger moths, including 7 species of underwing, were also present. The total count was 113 species plus one identified only to genus. 33 species were added to the all-time list, including the striking Beautiful Wood-nymph, Eudryas grata. About 60 adults and children participated.
This annual event is co-sponsored by the Toronto Entomologists’ Association and the High Park Nature Centre with assistance from High Park Nature. David Beadle, TEA member and co-author of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America, led the team of TEA volunteers who arranged the setup and provided IDs.
High Park is a large urban park in Toronto (about 400 acres). About 1/3 of the park consists of nationally rare oak savannah and woodlands. For more information about the park and its natural features, visit www.highparknature.org. A list of current and past Moth Night sightings is posted on the Moth Gallery page of this website.
Logan Crees is an sophomore studying environmental science at Iowa State University. He also serves as Outreach Coordinator for the Iowa State Environmental Science Club. Currently, he researching moth species in the Grand River Grasslands in Ringgold County, Iowa. You can follow his research at the Grand River Grasslands Moth Research mission on Project Noah.
People often find it strange that I enjoy studying moths. I mean sure, why care about the butterfly’s “ugly gray brother?” Why stay up until 2 am getting pelted by insects after a long day doing other field work? Because this one of the final frontiers for a naturalist. This is the closest thing I will ever be able to do that’s like what Darwin and Wallace did. The chance and thrill of discovery is what really pushes me. Nearly every time I go out, I see something I’ve never seen before, and it’s all incredibly complexly beautiful, even if it doesn’t appear so.
My undergraduate research project is extremely broad and not much different that what most people do in their backyards. I’m just lucky enough to have a laboratory at Iowa State supporting me. Originally the basis of my work was to complement a much larger butterfly project that is occurring in Ringgold County, Iowa.
Once I actually got out mothing, I started getting all sorts of moths and invertebrates (and one painted turtle and some concerned locals) and this started getting out of hand. You see, mothing on a prairie is so much different that mothing in a wooded area.
When you’re out on the prairie, the sheet will quickly become thickly covered in insects because the lights are visible from so far away. Processing a sheet full of bugs became a major task, especially when you’re including micro-moths.
Given the amount of time that it takes to do, I was forced to just focus on photographing and documenting species I hadn’t seen before, essentially making this a species survey of the area.
While that took a lot of work off my hands, I still have many species come to my lights that I have no idea what they are. My saving grace for a large amount of my identification work has been done by citizen scientists.
My sheet and frame setup is a cheap and simple but a very effective design created by Jim Durbin. The frame is made of metal electrical conduit pipe held up by electric fence posts. It’s really nice because are several ways to hang a sheet.
For power, I use a single 35 AH 12 volt wheelchair battery, which will last me more than a full night. For lighting I run a 4 foot double fixture with blacklight tubes, and a photography bulb which is on a tripod. The freedom of a mobile setup was worth the cost of a battery and charger, especially when many of the sites I moth at are 20 miles from the nearest town.
As far as what I’ve found so far, I think I have uncovered about 200 species, most of which will be new for my county, and a few, first for the state.
I’ve been mothing for three years now, and nearly every night, something comes in that I have never seen before, and it’s absolutely thrilling.
I’ve taken many people mothing with me before, and so many are shocked by the beauty of the moths that claim the night.
I’d really like to thank everyone who’s helped me identify moths, given me advice, and taken the time to ask about my work. The mothing community is great and makes it all the more fun.
Logan is searching for an internship working with or studying Lepidoptera (in the United States or international) next summer and would greatly appreciate any information on potential opportunities.
I cannot speak for all the National Moth Week events in Colorado, but I did participate in three of them, all public gatherings which surprised us in terms of human attendees. The number of moths that visited varied greatly, but a good time was had by all.
The first event was held on June 18 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, located just south of Colorado Springs in El Paso County. The habitat is mostly grassland with Gambel’s Oak thickets and a scattering of mixed conifers. Park staff arranged for us to set up by the camper services building to draw folks camping in the park, but there was enough publicity that we drew people from elsewhere, too (dare I say “like moths to a flame?”). One family even brought their own lights and sheet. It turns out one of their children raises moths, and dad had to secure interstate permits to legalize the rearing of species not found in Colorado. The Mile High Bug Club sponsored this event.
Once the public portion ended at around ten, Mile High Bug Club folks held an “after party,” visiting illuminated outposts such as restrooms, self-pay kiosks, and the visitor’s center. It is well known that moths are a “gateway drug” to more unfamiliar but no less spectacular insects such as beetles and true bugs. Only the most hardcore, incurable entomophiles get into nocturnal flies, never to be heard from again. Besides additional moth species, plus beetles and bugs, we encountered several scorpions, two “camel spiders” (Solifugae), and a large centipede.
The second event was held on Wednesday, July 22 at Hudson Gardens & Event Center in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Mile High Bug Club sponsored this event as well, but Education and Volunteer Manager Amanda Accamando provided many supplies, fantastic publicity, and volunteer support. It paid off. We had thirty (30) attendees. We set up in the “Hobbit Hole” near a long pond, assuming it would be a natural flyway for moths. Unfortunately, we were instead overwhelmed by caddisflies, which were naturally and repeatedly misidentified as moths. The few moths that did show were interesting species, though, and no one felt the least bit disappointed given the myriad other insects that flew in.
Our finale was a repeat of a private event the Mile High Bug Club held last year in Rock Creek Canyon , west of Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Our co-sponsor was the May Natural History Museum, which boats the world’s largest private collection of insects and other arthropods, open to the public. The museum is complemented by Eagle Campground, though few, if any, campers came to this event. We had the honor of having moth guru Sam Johnson set up his own light stations, and help us paint bait on trees. Glowsticks attached to the trees helped us locate these bait stations after dark. The habitat is a rather mature pine and oak forest, plus grassland up the hill from our site.
No sooner had the sun gone down than in came the moths, plus Ten-lined June Beetles, enormous root borers (Prionus californicus longhorned beetles), and many other insects. Moths that came to the bait did not also visit the lights, and at least one species of underwing moth that Sam collected (Catocala amestris) was new for southern Colorado. Last year, Sam collected Catocala delilah, another unusual species for the region, at this same location. This year, the area is experiencing an outbreak of the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata, but most were in the cocoon stage when we had our event, so while we did have a fair share of males (females of this moth are wingless), we were not inundated.
I think most of us left these events feeling invigorated, excited, and addicted to doing this again next year, if not sooner. Special thanks should go to Bell Mead for coordinating with personnel at all event locations, securing lights and other equipment, and generally organizing everything. Additional thanks to Brian Kelly and Rick Baker for their assistance, and my wife Heidi for enjoying the same strange experiences that I do.
Every year New Jersey moth’ers get together for a National Moth Week event the Fell House. In 2015 the annual moth night is being held on August 10th.