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June Star Species: The Moth

What are you doing on 9 - 11 June? We will be getting ready for Moth Night. You can be part of it too, and help scientists gain a better understanding of these intriguing creatures. 

Our Star Species for June is moths. June is prime time for these somewhat overlooked beauties, whose more glamorous cousins, the butterflies, get all the attention. This month, just after the Moth Night weekend, from 13 June we are joining forces with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at our Sherwood Forest location on the hunt for moths and other forest wildlife.

Be part of Moth Night

Moth Night logo

Moth Night (or nights, more accurately) is 9-11th June. People across the country are being asked to head out into the night and count the number and species of moths they see. You can join in too, either at a locally organised event (such as ours at Sherwood Forest – although we are starting slightly later, on 13th June) or in your own back garden. You may be surprised at the number and variety of moths you come across.

Moths are relatively under-recorded and projects such as Moth Night are an attempt to understand more about these night-time visitors that flit around our lamps and outside our windows. 

Says Andy Lowe at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, “Moth Night is science in action. Every sighting, common or rare, is important to our findings. In fact, there is a gap in the data around more common species because people tend to think we are only interested in the rare ones. So tell us about anything and everything that you see!” 

How to build a moth trap

Moth and light

First, you will need a way to attract the moths and, as Andy explains, this can be quite simple: “There are 2 main types of moth trap set by specialists, one involves different types of light-emitting source and the other is based on pheromones. For your own home-made trap, I suggest something as simple as spreading out a white sheet next to your patio, where lights from the house will attract the moths and the sheet will make them visible.”

An alternative, perhaps less appealing method, is to fill an old sock with rotted fruit or even soak it in wine. The moths will be attracted to the sweet scent and will come to feed.

What do do once you catch your moths

The Moth Night team have an easy to complete online recording system which will be open from the first day of the event, or you can photograph your finds and send them to your local Wildlife Trust. Include as much information as possible about time and date, location, size and numbers spotted. Your Wildlife Trust will feed the data into the national database.

Moth Night at Sherwood Forest

Forest Holidays Sherwood Forest cabin

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will be at our Sherwood Forest location for a week from the start of Moth Night on 11 June. Andy and the team will be on hand to take you out into the forest and, whilst moths are the hot topic, they are happy to talk about whatever wildlife you are interested in. The walks are open to everybody, but of course, if you book one of our fabulous cabins for a midweek break, the activities will be on your doorstep. Hurry though, there’s only a few left.

5 amazing moth facts 

• Moths are from the same order as butterflies, Lepidoptera, and the two share far more similarities than differences. It might even be said that butterflies are just another kind of moth.

• There are over 2500 species of moth in the UK and under 70 species of butterfly.

• Not all moths are nocturnal. Some, such as Orange Underwing and Scarlet Tiger, fly by day and are often mistaken for butterflies.

• Most moths don’t eat clothes. Those that do are interested only in natural fibres such as wool and cotton and they prefer dirty clothes to clean clothes. They were far more of a problem in Victorian times than they are today.

• Moths are in decline. Over 60 species disappeared in the 20th Century and numbers are estimated to be down by about 28% since 1968.

5 species to look out for on Moth Night

Elephant Hawk Moth – The focus is on hawk moths for this year’s Moth Night. There are many species, but look out for this rather classy khaki and pink specimen.

elephant hawk moth

Orange Underwing – A day flying moth, found early in the season, particularly around birch woodland.

orange underwing

Eyed Hawk Moth – An ingenious and very effective anti-predator camouflage. This one was spotted at Deerpark.

eyed hawk moth

Cinnabar – Mostly nocturnal and quite unique in appearance with black wings that have red markings.

cinnabar

Garden Tiger – Colourful but increasingly rare. A June sighting will be special as they tend to appear into July and August.

garden tiger moth

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