Light mothing (as in MV, UV & incandescent)

Bruce Walsh, at the Department of Ecology and Evolution Biology and the Center for Insect Science of the University of Arizona, compiled a list of websites and protocols of mothing techniques. Lights, tips and how to spread and preserve specimens. Find it here.

Here are some tips on lights for mothing that I copied from a recent disucussion on the Moth Watching Facebook page:

Hugh McGuinness – The first big decision you are going to have to make is whether or not you will use MV lamps. If so, the more wattage the better. Second, you need UV lights no matter what. A fifteen watt lamp works really well, but more watts is probably always better. Third, I find that having a variety of lights is effective. For example I have two flourescent fixtures that accommodate two bulbs. I put a UV bulb in one and a normal or full spectrum bulb in the other. I find that combo very successful. Also if you are not using MV then make sure you have an incandescent light on as well–I put my UV right next to the incandescent bulb.

Merrill Lynch – I agree with Hugh that a combination of lights works best. I use a UV fluorescent next to a cfl all spectrum on my porch with a MV/sheet combination nearby in the yard. I notice some moths are more attracted to the cfl than the UV light and others seem to gravitate to the MV. So, a combination of all three is best, I think. Also, I have several light traps that I’ve made that use the standard Bioquip UV rig (15 W) with ballast along with plexiglass vanes and aluminum funnel mounted over a 5gal plastic bucket. This is powered by a deep cycle 12V battery rated at 16 amps that is relatively lightweight and powerful enough to run the light all night. This setup is easy to take down and light enough to move around easily and is great for remote sampling.

I use single fixture 18″ UV bulbs like Bioquip sells. My CFL and UVA lights are about 10 ft apart. What I like about the Bioquip 160W MV bulb is its self-ballasted. Most of the bulbs online and in home improvement stores require expensive ballasts.

For more information log on  to the Resource and Finding moths pages.

If you have techniques and tips to share with other moth’ers or know of good websites that not yet linked on – please write to us.




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