Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

/ in Marek's Muse by Marek
Cartoonish image of kitchen shelf with salt tub, moths flying around
The effects of kitchen warming

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire was my intention, but for some reason the crop was poor, returning home with only a few small offerings intended for the squirrel who visits our garden.

I’m afraid he missed out however as although my intentions were good, I put them in a pot in the kitchen and promptly forgot all about them, that is until yesterday morning.

In fact, it was the moth I spotted sitting on the kitchen window gazing longingly at the actinic trap outside that refreshed my memory after I had managed to determine his identity.

Initially expecting him to be yet another Light Brown Apple moth who had decided to come in from the cold during my endeavours of the previous morning, having left the kitchen door open again, was quite surprised after closer inspection to determine that further investigation was necessary.

I managed a couple of shots with my point and click and to my surprise identified him as a Marbled Piercer which sparked some interest as they are not about until June at the earliest so some explaining was in order before I recorded him officially.

It was then that it dawned on me that maybe the nuts had something to do with it.

Like any good sleuth I began inspection of the sweet chestnuts in the pot with my loupe and came up with what I thought were three possible candidates, although to be honest I had no clue what I was looking for.

The next stage was to carefully open each candidate with my ‘crackerjack’ which I dutifully did.

A Crackerjack brand nut cracker with its original box
Lesley Crowther has a lot to answer for.

It was the first nut I opened that gleaned the result I was hoping for, as the blemish on the side of the nut corresponded with the damage of the kernel, and I could see what appeared to be a chrysalis hidden in the centre.

Again, back to my trusty ‘crackerjack’ to dig a little deeper in my attempt to uncover the culprit.

I pressed gently on the ‘crackerjack’ until the kernel gave way exposing the contents inside.

2x2 grid of photos - a tub of chestnuts, them cracked open and close up shot of moth eggs
I think I might buy chestnuts next year!

Lo and behold there was the evidence I was looking for so there could be no arguments.

Although these moths are common in the right environment it does raise the question whether other moths can be tricked into believing its summer, although I will leave this sort of question to the experts as I do not want a kitchen strewn with possible various moth habitats.

When I released him outside in the garden, he flew off merrily enough, but I cannot help thinking that he was in for a bit of a shock.

I think I will leave the remaining nuts where they are though and just maybe I can tempt the lighter variant to emerge, as taking pictures of fresh moths saves a lot of effort in post processing.

All in all, a good start to 2022 and fingers crossed for the ability to go a little further afield enabling me to gather information for further posts.