The British are known for their beautiful gardens, whether on expansive estates and parks in the countryside or in colorful window boxes along urban streets. So, it makes perfect sense that they’d also fancy moths, whose role as pollinators help those gardens grow. They even have a National Moth Night in the U.K. in early July.
Ben Sale, National Moth Week’s newest country coordinator, will connect that enthusiasm with NMW this year, celebrating both and encouraging more participation in NMW.
A groundsman for the town of Bishop’s Stortford in the county of Hertfordshire, Ben observes and records moths when he’s not busy with tending the town’s green spaces, allotments and cemeteries, where, he says “I’m trying to promote biodiversity within a rather manicured environment.”
“As with a lot of people who record moths, I started with butterflies and notched up an impressive 26 species in my Country over a few years, and then in 2006, took the plunge to the dark side!” he said.
Since then, he’s recorded and photographed nearly 1,700 species of the 2503 potential species on the British list. “I still have a lot of traveling to do, to see specific species,” Ben said. “I always use a moth trap, with a sheet laid flat underneath it, so it makes it easier seeing moths land near the trap, and so as not to tread on them!”
When possible, he heads for the local woods to look for moths. “I survey lots of other sites over four counties, and have recorded moths at over 50 different sites since I started recording in 2006 at age 23.”
Ben says he owes his interest in the natural world to his parents, who raised him on a farm in a small village in Hertfordshire. “From a young age, my passion grew from being surrounded by insects.”
“Sadly, insect numbers have sharply dropped, even in my lifetime,” he said. “I remember swaths of insects coming to the porch light when I was a child.”
Such observations are all the more reason to participate in National Moth Week to help document moth populations around the world and give scientists information on how they are faring. We are happy to have Ben join us as we head into the 10th year of National Moth Week.