Backwell Environment Trust

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Moth Trapping - June 2017

After weeks of high winds and generally unfavourable ‘moth’ weather, our chosen night for our first moth trapping session in Badgers Wood was perfect – light winds, dry and warm. We set up in The Layers meadow close to the Cabin as it is superb for wild flowers and has the advantage that it is surrounded by woodland which gave us the chance a attracting as many species as possible. Myself and Colin Higgins (‘Higgy’ from YACWAG) started putting the moth trap together at around 9pm and then we waited for dusk to fall.

As it started to get dark, we saw five pipistrelle bats hunting for insects over the meadow and then heard some fox cubs screeching in the distance. The declining light then started to bring the moths out and we managed to catch a few before the trap was switched on at around 10pm. Higgy was using this particular battery-powered, ultraviolet led light moth trap for the first time, so he was just as keen as us to see how effective it was going to be. We left the meadow at around 10:30pm and Higgy bravely volunteered to return at daybreak to switch off the light and put the captured moths into the cool of the Cabin until the trap was opened at 9am.

Moth trap release

When the trap was opened, the moths were carefully put into plastic containers so they could be more easily viewed and identified by the attending BET members. There are around 59 species of butterflies in the UK but approximately 2,500 species of moth, some with very variable colours, which made the identification of some species a little tricky!

Moth id

Grey Arches

Mottled Beauty

Mottled Beauty

Ghost Moth

Ghost Moth

After our close inspection, the moths were photographed and then released into the surrounding vegetation. In all, we added ten new species of moth to our species list and hope to follow up with more trapping sessions over the course of the summer.

Ian Chambers

 

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