Moths

Search this site:

* and ? are wildcards, use "quotes" for an exact phrase match.

Find below a suggested moth identification procedure, links to pictures from our moth trapping weekends and instructions on how to build a moth trap.

Identification Procedure

Identification can be fraught when there's so much variation and the only obvious markings are the ubiquitous one or two darker blobs on each wing. The way to be certain is to examine the moths' genitals, but they'd have to be dead for you to fiddle with their bits and we don't fancy that.

So our identification procedure is:

  • If we think we might have caught the moth before browse through our own pictures.
  • If it's a close-run thing, take a look at our page on confusion species in case we've been confused previously.
  • Otherwise, browse the pictures in the book Moths of the British Islesby Bernard Skinner (second edition) (or equivalent) for the right kind of wing pattern.  The key here is that you can browse the plates in a book easily at speed, which you really can't do on the web.
  • If we find it, search in HantsMoths, Suffolk Moths (most notably the "Flying Tonight" pages there) or ukmoths to get a much more useful picture of the resting moth and if it still looks right we're done.
  • If we can't find it at all post an ID request on the bird forum moth ID list (you have to subscribe to join-in, but it's free).

Our Data

Our moth pictures were originally taken using a Nikon CoolPix 4300 on the standard macro setting and latterly with the wonderful Canon G9 on standard macro setting. You can view the pictures in two ways:

  • Use our moth browser page to see thumbnails of all our catches over the years sorted by calendar month. Pick one of the links below for the catches on a particular day.  Note that there can be up to a megabyte of pictures behind each link, so be patient. If you want to find a specific moth rather than browse, use the search box up above.
Mosaic
  1. New moths found on 31 July 2016.
  2. New moths found on 17 July 2016.
  3. New moths found on 10 July 2016.
  4. New moths found on 19 June 2016.
  5. New moths found on 5 June 2016.
  6. New moths found on 22 May 2016.
  7. New moths found on 8 May 2016.
  8. New moths found on 9 August 2015.
  9. New moths found on 2 August 2015.
  10. New moths found on 5 July 2015.
  11. New moths found on 7 June 2015.
  12. New moths found on 27 July 2014.
  13. New moths found on 6 July 2014.
  14. New moths found on 29 June 2014.
  15. New moths found on 15 June 2014.
  16. New moths found on 8 June 2014.
  17. New moths found on 18 May 2014.
  18. New moths found on 4 August 2013.
  19. New moths found on 28 July 2013.
  20. New moths found on 14 July 2013.
  21. New moths found on 30 June 2013.
  22. New moths found on 23 June 2013.
  23. New moths found on 16 June 2013.
  24. New moths found on 9 June 2013.
  25. New moths found on 26 May 2013.
  26. New moths found on 19 May 2013.
  27. New moths found on 5 May 2013.
  28. New moths found on 21 April 2013.
  29. New moths found on 16 September 2012.
  30. New moths found on 18 August 2012.
  31. New moths found on 5 August 2012.
  32. New moths found on 29 July 2012.
  33. New moths found on 10 June 2012.
  34. New moths found on 5 June 2012.
  35. New moths found on 27 May 2012.
  36. New moths found on 18 April 2012.
  37. New moths found on 8 April 2012.
  38. New moths found on 2 October 2011.
  39. New moths found on 18 September 2011.
  40. New moths found on 4 September 2011.
  41. New moths found on 21 August 2011.
  42. New moths found on 14 August 2011.
  43. New moths found on 10 July 2011.
  44. New moths found on 26 June 2011.
  45. New moths found on 12 June 2011.
  46. New moths found on 5 June 2011.
  47. New moths found on 30 May 2011.
  48. New moths found on 23 May 2011.
  49. New moths found on 15 May 2011.
  50. New moths found on 8 May 2011.
  51. New moths found on 2 May 2011.
  52. New moths found on 1 May 2011.
  53. New moths found on 25 April 2011.
  54. New moths found on 19 April 2011.
  55. New moths found on 11 April 2011.
  56. New moths found on 20 March 2011.
  57. New moths found on 13 March 2011.
  58. New moths found on 18 July 2010.
  59. New moths found on 11 July 2010.
  60. New moths found on 4 July 2010.
  61. New moths found on 27 June 2010.
  62. New moths found on 13 June 2010.
  63. New moths found on 5 June 2010.
  64. New moths found on 23 May 2010.
  65. New moths found on 11 April 2010.
  66. New moths found on 13 September 2009.
  67. Moths found in South Wales on 6 September 2009.
  68. New moths found on 26 July 2009.
  69. New moths found on 19 July 2009.
  70. New moths found on 11 July 2009.
  71. New moths found on 28 June 2009.
  72. New moths found on 21 June 2009.
  73. New moths found on 14 June 2009.
  74. New moths found on 7 June 2009.
  75. New moths found on 24 May 2009.
  76. New moths found on 17 May 2009.
  77. New moths found on 3 May 2009.
  78. New moths found on 26 April 2009.
  79. New moths found on 13 April 2009.
  80. New moths found on 5 April 2009.
  81. New moths found on 22 March 2009.
  82. New moths found on 1 March 2009.
  83. New moths found on 12 October 2008.
  84. New moths found on 21 September 2008.
  85. New moths found on 31 August 2008.
  86. New moths found on 2 August 2008.
  87. New moths found on 26 July 2008.
  88. New moths found on 13 July 2008.
  89. New moths found on 6 July 2008.
  90. New moths found on 15 June 2008.
  91. New moths found on 1 June 2008.
  92. New moths found on 24 May 2008.
  93. New moths found on 11 May 2008.
  94. New moths found on 27 April 2008.
  95. New moths found on 30 March 2008.
  96. New moths found on 23 September 2007.
  97. New moths found on 9 September 2007.
  98. New moths found on 2 September 2007.
  99. New moths found on 15 July 2007.
  100. New moths found on 8 July 2007.
  101. New moths found on 30 June 2007.
  102. New moths found on 10 June 2007.
  103. New moths found on 20 May 2007.
  104. New moths found on 6 May 2007.
  105. New moths found on 29 April 2007.
  106. New moths found on 22 April 2007.
  107. New moths found on 15 April 2007.
  108. New moths found on 12 April 2007.
  109. New moths found on 1 April 2007.
  110. New moths found on 11 March 2007.
  111. New moths found on 22 October 2006.
  112. New moths found on 15 October 2006.
  113. New moths found on 24 September 2006.
  114. New moths found on 17 September 2006.
  115. New moths found on 10 September 2006.
  116. New moths found on 29 August 2006.
  117. Moths found in Sheffield on 28 August 2006.
  118. New moths found on 18 August 2006.
  119. Moths found in South Wales on 6 August 2006.
  120. New moths found on 30 July 2006.
  121. New moths found on 23 July 2006.
  122. New moths found on 16 July 2006.
  123. New moths found on 9 July 2006.
  124. New moths found on 2 July 2006.
  125. New moths found on 30 June 2006.
  126. New moths found on 25 June 2006.
  127. New moths found on 18 June 2006.
  128. New moths found on 11 June 2006.
  129. New moths found on 4 June 2006.
  130. New moths found on 14 May 2006.
  131. New moths found on 6 May 2006.
  132. New moths found on 23 April 2006.
  133. New moths found on 16 April 2006.
  134. New moths found on 2 April 2006.
  135. No moths found in winter 2005/2006.
  136. New moths found on 15 October 2005.
  137. New moths found on 3 September 2005.
  138. New moths found on 28 August 2005.
  139. New moths found on 7 August 2005.
  140. New moths found on 30 July 2005.
  141. New moths found on 23 July 2005.
  142. New moths found on 16 July 2005
  143. New moths found on 10 July 2005.
  144. New moths found on 25 June 2005.
  145. New moths found on 18 June 2005.
  146. New moths found on 12 June 2005.
  147. New moths found on 5 June 2005.
  148. New moths found on 28 May 2005.
  149. New moths found on 15 May 2005.
  150. New moths found on 1 May 2005.
  151. New moths found on 7 August 2004.
  152. New moths found on 1 August 2004.
  153. New moths found on 24 July 2004.
  154. New moths found on 18 July 2004.
  155. New moths found on 11 July 2004.
  156. New moths found on 3 July 2004.
  157. New moths found on 20 June 2004.
  158. New moths found on 6 June 2004.
  159. New moths found on 16 May 2004.
  160. New moths found on 9 May 2004.
  161. New moths found on 20 July 2003.
  162. Moths found on 13 July 2003.

Trapping Moths

Moth traps are straightforward to build - basically a square wooden box with an open top into which two pieces of Perspex are placed in a "V" shape with a gap at the bottom of the V.  A mercury vapour lamp is placed on top of all this, the moths are attracted, they fall down the slippery Perspex sides and end up in the trap where egg boxes have been placed for them to nestle in. This is called a Skinner moth trap.  Set the trap up before dusk, switch the lamp on and go to bed.  In the morning you should find dozens and dozens of moths hiding under the egg boxes in the trap.  They will all be fairly sleepy, so don't be too concerned about them flying off before you have a chance to look at them.  A digital camera with good macro facilities is an excellent investment to record your catches.  Pictures of moths we've caught are above.

The moths are not harmed by trapping, but when you release them from the trap make sure you scatter them across a largish area of long vegetation as otherwise you're setting up lunch for all your garden birds.

How Can I Build A Moth Trap?

This design for a moth trap is borrowed from the BBC web site.  It's since been deleted from there, so I reckoned no-one would mind me propagating it here as it's a very generic design.  The finished moth trap is shown opposite.

What You Need

  • One sheet of 4 mm plywood cut into:
    • one 40 cm square - base,
    • two 30 cm x 40 cm - ends,
    • two 30 cm x 39 cm - sides,
    • one 7 cm x 39 cm - support for light.

  • One sheet of 2 mm Perspex cut into:
    • two 30 cm x 39 cm,
    • one 30 cm x 30 cm for rain cover if desired.

  • 2 cm square baton cut into:
    • two 35 cm lengths - at bottom of ends,
    • two 39 cm lengths - at bottom of sides,
    • four 25 cm lengths - along edges,
    • four 6.5 cm lengths - two for Perspex support, two for light.

  • Two egg trays or 6 to 8 half-dozen sized egg boxes.

  • External light fitting, mercury vapour lamp, insulated electrical cable, plug - all of these electrics can be purchased in kits from www.pwbelg.clara.net/mercury
Finished moth trap

What To Do

Assemble the main box. The trap is held together by the 2 cm baton that runs around inside. The plywood pieces can be glued or nailed to the baton to join them together. Drill some small holes in the corners of the base to let any rainwater out. Nail two nails, 2.5 cm apart into two of the 6.5 cm lengths of baton. These will form the rests for the Perspex. Glue the rests onto the two ends of the box, 15 cm above the base in the centre. Prop up the egg boxes inside your trap and slide the two Perspex sheets in so they are stopped by the nails.

Assemble the lighting. Wire up the external light to the plug following the manufacturer's instructions. Drill a hole in the centre of the plywood support to take the external light fitting and screw it into place. Glue the other two 6.5 cm piece of baton above the Perspex rests, 6 cm down from the top, these will form the support for the lighting. Glue this plywood lighting unit on top of the supports and varnish the lot (for outdoor use). You are now ready to trap.

The only thing missing from this basic design is a rain cover. If you're afraid it's going to rain on your very expensive mercury vapour lamp, then take the extra piece of Perspex plus some long straight pieces of thick wire (I used some thin brass tubing I happened to have spare) and make a cover (which should be removable).
Put the trap on the ground or just a foot or two above; very few moths fly much higher than this. If you put it against a hedge or the edge of a wooded area it will probably stand the best chance of success.
Back to Meades Family Homepage