Garden Moth Scheme

Small Elephant Hawkmoth......one day I'll see one of these in my garden....

Moths are brilliant; it is as simple as that! I started trapping moths in my garden during early autumn last year and I am well and truly hooked! It is great to wake up in the morning with that great feeling of excitement, knowing that you have been running your actinic overnight and wondering what species will be roosting on the egg cartons when you open your trap! Since November 2011 I have recorded over fifty species of moth in my garden; and I am continuing to add new species on a weekly basis.

Small Elephant Hawkmoth......one day I'll see one of these in my garden....

Aside for the self gratification of discovering new species of moths for your garden what is the point or value of catching moths? Firstly moths being predominantly nocturnal are a fairly overlooked and underecorded group of species; so without individuals regularly running light traps in their garden we may not know the conservation status of many species. As would be expected by their dependence on plants for their survival, moths are a very good indicator species. This species group gives us a good ‘heads up’ when habitats are becoming damaged.

The Garden Moth Scheme (GMS) has started running across the UK this year collating data for distribution and population of 200 of our commonest species. The scheme entails trapping every friday night from 1800hrs – 0600hrs from March to November. I have signed up for this as has Charlie and we will be posting updates of our catches here! It is not too late to sign up if you are interested. you can find out more here: http://www.gardenmoths.org.uk/

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About the author

I'm a birder and twitcher with a general interest in natural history (dragonflies, butterflies and orchids in particular) but most of all I am a passionate conservationist with a particular affiliation to Turkey. Having worked as a Ranger/Naturalist at a range of nature reserves throught the UK I now work as a freelance ecologist and writer.

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