Enjoy a big night out on the hunt for our amazing moths

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:51 pm

Families are being urged to take a night off from watching films and TV indoors and go out for the night - in their own back gardens.

May is the perfect time to look out for moths as they emerge up and down the UK.

Whether you’re at home alone, with your partner or family, discovering moths at night provides a whole new way to learn about, and appreciate, the nature right on our doorsteps. And far from being brown and boring, May sees some of our most beautiful species emerge.

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George Tordoff, senior moth ecologist at Butterfly Conservation, the charity dedicated to conserving the UK’s moths and butterflies, said: “As the nights warm up and spring really gets going, there are so many amazing moth species on the wing across the whole of the UK.

The Elephant Hawk-moth has distinctive colouring. Picture: Shutterstock

There are several ways to hunt for moths in your own back garden. One is to use a moth trap. But for people with a more general interest in nature and those working to a minimal budget, there are some other, cheaper options.

George said: “The best way to lure some species to you is by h

anging a large white sheet over a washing line or between two tree branches. Once it’s fully dark, take a strong torch or camping lamp and shine the light at the sheet. Make sure this is done safely and that any children taking part have adult supervision. With a little patience some moths should come fluttering to the sheet. If they don’t rest for long, take a picture so that you can identify them later.

“For those that need to go to bed a bit earlier, particularly families with young children, you can make some sweet moth lures to attract species at dusk. Take half a bottle of red wine and 500g of sugar and heat in a pan, without boiling, until the sugar is dissolved. Find some strips of clean cotton cloth or thick cord and dip them in the mixture. Hang the strips over bushes, tree branches or a fence as darkness falls, then go out and check them with a torch.

“If nothing else, check your outdoor window sills before you switch off the lights at night and you never know what you might find.”

See butterfly-conservation.org for more information