Box Clever

/ in Know Your Moths by Marek

Some of the moths which settle in and around the trap make their bed and want to lie in it.

Outside the trap they find a concealed spot where they feel safe making them difficult to spot and lessening the chances of attracting the attention of any would be predator.

Moths in the trap adopt the same principle but make use of the egg boxes in which to hide.

The trouble is that when these moths settle in a place where they feel safe and do not want to move or be moved they do so in a manner that mimics death.

Even when potted and tapped down gently onto the pot cover they refuse to move and some even lie flat on their backs with their feet in the air for a considerable time.

2x2 grid of some photos of moths
A. Moth Deceased

Pictures of dead (or acting dead) moths do not really show them in their true light and I try to avoid this as much as possible. This moth has been used for a site update reference - Twin-spotted Quaker

Patience is required if you need pictures with more animation and if you are prepared to wait long enough they will decide themselves that it might be a good idea to make a move thus giving you the opportunity to get some better shots.

Also moving them gently with the ruler sometimes helps speed up the process but not always.

Distressing the moth in any way only serves to cause possible damage and lessens the chances of taking decent pictures so a waiting game it is.

The bigger problem with this method of concealment it that when you try to release this type of moth they will adopt the same policy and refuse to move from where you place them thus being an easy prey for birds as they did not find this resting place themselves.

My worry was that if I release these moths even in the lower garden that sooner or later the general would get wind of the fact and send the troops in to investigate.

It occurred to me however that if I left these moths in the trap hidden in the egg boxes even with the lid removed they would be happy to remain there until it became dark again whence they would resume their nightly duties.

I came upon the idea that maybe a homemade moth release station might be the answer.

A crate with a meshed lid, filled with egg cartons
Moth Release Centre

Manufactured from articles found in and around the garden I came up with this method of releasing reluctant moths.

The methodology employed is that egg boxes are placed in a container which although easy for the moths to escape from is sufficient to prevent birds from entering which has now become a proven strategy.

Moths can be tapped from the pots into the container or in fact a whole box from the trap can be placed into it if none of the subjects are required for photography.

The timer for the moth trap is set for an hour after dark so that residents can leave any time during the day or wait until it is dark with no fear of it being drawn back again to the light from the trap.

This concludes my short discussion on moth survival techniques leading to my next post regarding the steps taken to prevent too many moths from being harmed during and after their photo session.