Garden Robin

Garden Robin

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Few Moths

May continues to be a disappointing month for moths. I did see a Mint Month (Pyrausta aurata) in the garden flying around Red Valerian about a foot away from a mint plant earlier this month. Trapping sessions on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May produced no moths at all.

This weekend I trapped just a handful of moths.

Friday 22nd May (Min temp 9.0 degrees centigrade)

Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella) x 1 (New for Year)

Shuttle Shaped Dart x 1

Tachystola acroxantha x 2 (New for Year)

Shuttle Shaped Dart - a common and widespread moth. The larvae feed on herbaceous plants such as Dandelion and Dock.

Bee Moth - another common species often found round bee and wasp nests and beehives. The larvae feed on debris and contents of wasp and bee nests.

Tachystola acroxanthat This tiny moth has undergone a rapid range expansion following its accidental introduction on garden plants from Australia. The larvae feed on fallen leaves and leaf litter.

On Sunday, 24th May, I spotted a White-shouldered House Moth in the garage (new for year)

Monday, 25th May (Min temperature 10.3 degrees centigrade)

Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) x 2 (New for Year)

Another common and widespread moth in Britain. Found in all sorts of habitats. Larvae feed on herbaceous plants such as Ribwort Plantain and Fat Hen.

The total number of species for 2015 now stands at 23.

Recently fledged House Sparrows

and Great Tits are being fed around the garden by their parents.


  1. Glad you managed to get a few, have been following your conservations with Mandy, which would be great if she gets one as it will be interesting to see what she gets. I've had another look and my home made one it not much different to a bought one, think it just has been to cold to catch any. Bought some little tanks that I can put a few caterpillars in to raise, have seem some at the park on nettles.
    Amanda xx

    1. Thanks so much Amanda. It would be good and very interesting if Mandy got a trap as you say :) I am sure there are species in France we have never seen or dreamt of :) I've been talking to people on Twitter and many are getting low catches too so I think it is the weather. Also there is often a bit of a gap between the Spring and Summer waiting for early Summer species to emerge. My OH said when my trap arrived I could have made one of those!! Homemade will be just as good as bought. Look forward to hearing more about your caterpillars - its a wonderful experience to raise them especially the moment when the butterfly(ies) emerges :) I find the process of metamorphosis completely fascinating!

      Caught a Peppered Moth last night - so it was worth switching the trap on. Will post photo when its calmed down a bit after a short stay in the fridge!!

    2. Ha, talking about me! ;-) With your two blogs I can't remember which one we were chatting on. I really wanted one like Countryside Tales has, but my hubby feels it will go the way of the exercise bike - get used a lot for several months, then gather dust! And of course they are mega expensive.

    3. Hi again Mandy :) I get confused about my blogs too - in some ways perhaps I should have just stuck to one!! Now I've got so into moth trapping I would have preferred the dearer one too but as you say there is the expense :( and I am not sure what the neighbours would say about such a bright light. They are nosey enough about the Skinner actinic! If we move in a year or so and when I next have a "big" birthday I may consider it then.

      To be honest when I first began mothing I don't think I would have wanted to have trapped many more than I do now as initially it takes for ever and a day to identify each and every species so the actinic skinner is a good way to start. In your rural location and with all the habitat you have in the garden I am sure you would trap far more species than me anyway. One of the suppliers we talked about earlier would give good advice I am sure. You can get "stronger" actinic lights which might attract more? The beauty of the Robinson design is that it is better at keeping the moths in the trap rather than them "escaping".

      I've read in forums that there is some suggestion of the EU banning mv bulbs??? and people have been stocking up on them but haven't really researched it.

  2. Things are moving along slowly this year aren't they though the arrival of Hearts & Darts are, at least for me, one of those species which signal the start of the 'summer' moth season if you know what I mean (just as Orthosia species signal spring).

    Hope you are well and kindest regards :-)

    1. Thanks David - here's hoping June will be better for moths :) Certainly good to see returning Hearts and Darts :)

      Fine thank you (well a bit of a bad back but hopefully on the mend!!). Hope you are well too and the decorating is going to plan.

      Best wishes