National Moth Week welcomes Yahel Ben-Zvi as its first USA student coordinator. In this newly created position on the NMW team, Yahel will be cultivating interest in NMW among college and university students across the country.
Yahel, 22, graduated in 2021 from the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences with a double major in entomology and plant science. He just completed his first year in the school’s Ph.D. program in entomology. His research focuses on how landscape changes and domestication of agricultural crops have affected the attraction of beneficial insects, such as pollinators and predators/parasitoids to the plant’s volatile
compounds. This summer, he is doing fieldwork in the cranberry bogs of New
Jersey’s Pine Barrens.
As a child growing up in East Brunswick, Yahel attended events held by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, which established National Moth Week in 2012 under the leadership of David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty.
“I’ve been to several mothing events since black-light trapping is a very popular method of collecting insects,” he said. “When Liti Haramaty approached me about working with NMW, I thought ‘Oh wow, that’s pretty cool.’ I didn’t know it was so global.”
Yahel says his role in National Moth Week is “very connected to what I do.”
“As a student in the USA studying entomology, I have been in contact with people from the Entomology Society of America in order to spread the word about NMW among students of other universities.”
He notes that the society’s meetings are the biggest entomology events for students across the country, and he hopes to leverage his connections in his new role with NMW.