National Moth Week T-shirts and other products on RedBubble

Products with the National Moth Week logo and 2020 dates are now available for purchase on RedBubble.



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National Moth Week, July 18-26, Offers a Safe, Enriching Activity for All Ages; Perfect for Social Distancing

      9th Annual Celebration

   July 18-26,2020

Discover the Fascinating World of Moths in Your Backyard

Looking for an activity that’s safe, fun and enriching for all ages during this period of social distancing? 

The ninth annual National Moth Week, July 18-26, invites novice and experienced “moth-ers,” alike, to observe these fascinating creatures in their own backyards and contribute to our scientific knowledge as part of one of the world’s largest citizen science projects.

While they’ve been maligned as butterflies’ less attractive and sometimes more destructive cousins, moths have always had loyal fans for their diversity, beauty and value as pollinators and food sources for birds and other animals. The beautiful Luna, mystifying Death’s-head and exotic tropical moths have long attracted the attention of artists and writers as well as entomologists.

As people likely will continue avoiding crowds this summer to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections, National Moth Week (NMW) offers the opportunity to learn about nighttime nature from the safety of backyards and gardens; porches, decks and terraces.

Free registration of private and public moth-watching events is encouraged on the NMW website in order to show where moths are being observed around the world. Private street addresses are never displayed. All participants will receive a beautiful certificate of participation designed by Ecuadorean artist Belen Mena of the NMW team.

“This year’s National Moth Week may not feature as many traditional public moth nights as in the past, but it’s still possible to observe and learn about moths while social distancing,” said Liti Haramaty, co-founder of National Moth Week. “All you need is an outdoor light source shining on a wall, door or white sheet.  And don’t forget your camera.”

In addition to using lights, moth-ers also can attract moths by coating tree trunks with a sticky, sweet mixture of fruit and stale beer. Searching for caterpillars and day-flying moths is a good activity for daytime. The NMW website offers tips on attracting moths.

Participants are invited to contribute photos and data to NMW partner websites, as well as the NMW Flickr group, which now has over 100,000 moth photos from around the world. Moth observations submitted to iNaturalist.org, a site for sharing observations in the natural world, will be added to the NMW project on that site. Last year, over 27,000 moth observations were posted on iNaturalist.

Since it was established in 2012, NMW has inspired thousands of public and private moth-watching and educational events around the world in over 80 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Sites have included National Parks and Monuments, museums and local recreation areas, private backyards and front porches – wherever there’s a light and a place for them to land.

Last year, hundreds of National Moth Week events were registered around the world, including all 50 states and 47 countries.

“Moth diversity is astonishing and with a little effort it’s amazing what can be found in a backyard or local park,” said NMW co-founder David Moskowitz, Ph.D. “Some of my most exciting moth adventures have been in my own small backyard. Exploring yours is sure to yield moth treasures that are just waiting to be found.”

National Moth Week was founded by the Friends of the East Brunswick (N.J.) Environmental Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation. It is now one of the most widespread citizen science projects in the world. It is coordinated by volunteers in New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Washington State, Ecuador, India and Hong Kong.

For more information about National Moth Week, visit the website at nationalmothweek.org, or write to info@nationalmothweek.org. Also, find National Moth Week on Facebook, Twitter (@moth_week) and Instagram (mothweek).  #Nationalmothweek #mothweek

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Why study moths?

  • Part of the Lepidoptera order of insects, moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
  • Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
  • Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult’s hand.
  • Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen – others fly like butterflies during the day.
  • Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.

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NMW in New Hampshire – Guest Post by Deb Lievens

This year during NMW, I gave a talk on moths, in general and as pollinators, as part of New Hampshire Audubon’s Pollinator series. It seems to be hard in NH to get random folks to stay up late enough so get the best moths. But we had fun.  It’s always great to introduce people to these “jewels of the night”.  As usual, I set up lights throughout the week alternately at two locations: southern NH and central, but in the White Mountains. My species numbers were lower this year. But the whole season here was the same. I had the now-expected weather vagaries. One day was 97 degrees. One day we had 1.5″ inches of rain at my house. My commonest visitor was 8203 – Halysidota tessellaris – Banded Tussock Moth. Not a surprise, but what was was the super-abundance of the caterpillar later in the season. The stars must have been aligned for the species this year!

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National Moth Week Welcomes Oz Rittner as Country Coordinator for Israel

National Moth Week is pleased to welcome Oz Rittner of Tel Aviv University in Israel as the newest NMW country coordinator.

Oz is the Lepidoptera collection manager at the Steinhardt Museum at the Israel National Center for Biodiversity Studies at the university. He started and maintains Israel-nature-site.com and has been an NMW partner since the beginning.

“I have a great interest in moths and beetles, in particular,” Oz says. “From the age of 14, I started to collect butterflies, and soon enough I realized that moths are the ones that need more special attention. Later, I started studying beetles as well for the same reason.”

In addition to being the collection manager at the museum, Oz is also a photographer there and is dedicated to capturing images of elusive moths.

He operates light traps across Israel “in order to encounter rare and unique species that elude the eyes otherwise.”

“This gives me the best conditions for photographing but it’s also the best tool to actually see many interesting species and collect large amount of data in just a few hours,” he says. “For me photography and taxonomy are mere tools for studying the insects fauna of Israel, which are very diverse and still in great need of research.”

As a country coordinator, Oz will help promote National Moth Week throughout Israel and encourage people of all ages and abilities to participate by hosting or attending events and submitting photos and data to partner websites.

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MOTH NIGHT 2019 CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA, Guest Post by David Rentz

The annual Moth Night was held in the Botanic Gardens, Cairns on 28 August 2019. More than 50 members of the public attended, including several children. It was a perfect night–warm, windless and dry. Moth Night is an international event with over a dozen countries taking part. It was organised in the Northern Hemisphere during July. Of course, it is mid-summer in July in those climes and moths are at their peak abundance at that time. We decided to hold our Moth Night a month later this year so it would be closer to Spring and maybe a few more moths than usual would be active. It seemed to be a good move but we feel it would have been even more productive if it were not so dry. A good rain a couple of weeks prior to the even might have prompted more insects to emerged from their winter slumber.
Moth-ers assembled at 6.00 pm in the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre for a short talk and to meet one another and view a couple of drawers of local moth specimens that they might encounter later. Light refreshments were served and then the attendees went out to check the two light sheets, We wandered around observing and photographing insects that were active in the vicinity of the light sheets. Most folks agreed that spiders outnumbered the insects. Several large Wolf Spiders and Huntsmen of various sizes were out and about. Lacewing eggs and a few caterpillars as well as nymphal katydids were discovered.
Photos were provided by Kylie Brown (KB), Louisa Grandy (LG) and Buck Richardson (BR).

To see more photos – click here


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NATIONAL MOTH WEEK 2019- Guest post by SAJAN K.C., NEPAL

This is my second year of National Moth Week. While last year I organized a public moth watching event at a national park in Nepal (Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Kathmandu), this year was different. I set up a light trap this year using a 160W Mercury Vapor Lamp and a white sheet during the entire month of July in 2 different districts of Nepal; Tanahun (for about 2 days) and Kaski ( for the rest of the month) with altitudes ranging from 2300 ft.-3800 ft.

Every (almost!) night after 7 PM, I would set up the light trap either at a special location or just on the balcony of my house. I’d then take a chair and sit by the light trap with my camera (also an umbrella if it’s raining). I photographed and recorded more than 300 different species of moths only during the entire month. Some other attendees were Hemipterans, Coleopterans, Hymenopterans, Trichopterans and Mantodeans.

National Moth Week is something that should be expanded and celebrated in countries all across the globe. After all, butterflies aren’t the only ones which are attractive!

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Moth Week in Cyprus – Guest post by Marios Philippou

Cyprus Island is a special place because it is located between three continents. Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The biodiversity of the island is very rich compared to its size (9.251 km ²). We count about 1950 plants, 650 seashells, 250 fishes, more than 6.000 insects, 400 birds including migratory, 30 mammals, 8 snakes, 11 lizards, three amphibians and 120 land snails.
Our mothing event was located in Akrotiri Peninsula, on Sunday the 28th of July at
the Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre between 19:00-23:00.
Our event had a presentation about moths, moth colorations from Kids,
presentation for kids, explanation about moth traps.

We had 3 different light setups for the moths and also we had moth wine
ropes.
People and especially the kids were very satisfied.
We attracted about 100 moths and we identified 20 species in *only 3 hours*.

We would like to thanks everyone those joined to our event.

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First but not last… National Moth Week in Las Arrieras Nature Reserve, Costa Rica – Guest post by Dariel Sanabria

Costa Rica is worldwide known by its rich biodiversity. A country full of birds, plants, reptiles, frogs and……. moths! The tropics are home to a vast diversity of this interesting group that is barely known by science. Taking this into consideration, we decided to create a big event for the National Moth Week.

The activity took place at Las Arrieras Nature Reserve, in the Caribbean lowlands of the country, being one of the most diverse regions of Costa Rica! The Reserve protects more than 60 acres of tropical rainforest, rivers, swamps and it also have small patches of disturbed habitat that are in process of reforestation. The variety of habitats enables a lot of niches that moths occupy, resulting in a massive diversity of species!

The event was held on July 27-28. Luck was on our side, as we had perfect climate conditions, despite this being a very rainy place (it is a Rainforest after all). Twelve people participated in the moth-watching event, anxious to learn about these mysterious creatures.

We had three different setups for the moths to be attracted to light (blacklight and fluorescent bulbs were used). Turning on our lights at 18:00, the activity of moths started to warm as the night advanced. The firsts species came from the Crambidae and Pyralidae families, followed by other groups like Notodontidae, Geometridae and Arctiinae appearing later on.

People were especially attracted to the diversity in forms and colors of geometers and tiger moths, but what really caught all of our attention was the enormous Automeris belti with its striking eyelike patterns in the hindwings!

But we not only saw moths, we had nightwalks in the inside of the forest, where we found more insects and frogs! We played a Bingo with the species of moths that were appearing at the traps and games regarding the tropical nature of our country! In the traps we also had the presence of other insects such as praying mantis, giant cockroaches, dobsonflies, beetles, a couple of mantidflies and even a Bullet Ant (the insect responsible of one the most painful stings in the world!).

By the end of the night, everyone was completely satisfied because of the high diversity of moths that we saw and the time spent meeting people that are also interested in this amazing group of insects!

Las Arrieras Nature Reserve showed us more than 120 species of macromoths in only 6 hours! The tropics are incredible and we only can imagine the infinite mysteries that this group is hiding!

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Moth Week event at WWF-India – Guest post by Kaustubh Srikanth

We are delighted to share that WWF-India was invited to participate in the National Moth Week, wherein we organized a moth observation and awareness event at the Secretariat on the 24th July, 2019.

Two moth setups were placed- one near the entrance of the office, while the other was placed in our office’s Butterfly Garden. 

Glad to share that our office backyard is home to over 15 species of moths that were recorded in our backyard itself. Topics regarding moth identification, behaviour, breeding biology and habitats were discussed through informative activities such as moth themed quizzes and moth tambola. The participants were fascinated to spot  the Beet Webworm Moth which was around us through the event.

We had received registrations from 45 participants, but due to rains only 15 were able to make it. Overall we received a positive response on the event organized and we are grateful to have been invited by National Moth Week and Dr. Shubalaxmi Vaylure to guide us in conducting this event.

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First Moth week in Slovakia – Guest post by David Turčáni

For the first time we made mothing event in Slovakia. The organizer was the project Land of Bees, which educates about pollinators, mainly bees. But this year we started a special program about butterflies and moths.  

Our event was held on July 25, 2019. Mothing attracted not only moths, but also people and kids from our local community. We were also pleased by a visitor – 13-year-old enthusiastic entomologist that was talking with such passion about his experiences. We experienced that nature and insects are still attractive for kids. 

We observed approximately 15 species, forexample Phragmatobia fuliginosa, Chiasmia clathrate, Acronicta megacephala, Ematurga atomaria, Chlorissa clorar. Our visitors and even we were so surprised how diverse, colorful and fascinating the moths can be.  

We hope everybody enjoyed this night and we will continue 5th of August with second Moth night. 

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