Exploding Bulbs

/ in Equipment by Marek
Photo of a lightbulb that exploded within our trap
Bang out of order

When we first started recording moths in 2011, we experimented with several bulbs using a homemade trap, the first was in fact the self-ballasting 160w bulb as documented in a post from January 2018 - Trap Introduction.

We have obviously replaced the actual bulb periodically from multiple sources during the years as all bulbs fail from time to time especially as employed for our purposes.

Towards the end of last year, we had another bulb failure and replaced it with a spare which I had kept, as although labelled ‘suspect’ for the most part worked fine.

When I say ‘suspect’, what I mean is that from time to time it would switch itself off and then back on again shortly afterwards, which didn’t seem to bother the moths too much and gave me more time to replace a failed one.

Also, I would like to explain that we do not use the same bulb each night but rotate three different options, these being a 125w mercury vapour, 60w actinic and finally the 160w mercury vapour, being the subject of this post.

The methodology in doing this is simply to make comparisons from our reports allowing us the ability to notice trends and differences in catches over time.

Earlier this year I thought it best to invest in a replacement 160w bulb as the frequency of the stop starting of the ‘suspect’ bulb had increased to levels which reminded me of the strobe lighting used in nightclubs during my youth.

It became obvious from the start as I trolled the internet for replacements that these bulbs have appeared to have gone somewhat out of fashion as they were no longer available from previous local sources.

Not wishing to give up however, the data collection from our comparisons being of particular interest,  continued until I happened across a site where you can buy them six at a time for little money, free delivery and from a UK seller.

This purchase was obviously too good to miss but erring on caution I opted for just the two, although not the better deal.

The whole process with my order proved faultless from the purchase itself to their timely delivery.

The product was received as described and although with no English instructions or documentation I couldn’t be more impressed.

The reason however for this post is that the jury is now out as I have had to replace the first bulb due to failure after what I consider from experience to be after rather a short time frame, the nature of which being somewhat worrying.

Although I had taken the advice during my preliminary research for this type of bulb and ordered a cover to protect against explosion, I did not actually think this likely, as I run the trap in a moth house, this being a glorified greenhouse with the door left open, to protect the bulb and traps from the wind and rain.

Full shot of our moth trap, an enclosed bulb over a wooden box
A wet moth is not a happy moth

While I continue to use the replacement, I must admit I do show a little more caution when first switching the bulb off and checking the stand and housing for possible records just in case.

It may well be that this bulb was just faulty or a one off, but this experience serves to emphasise the fact that care needs to be taken with respect for the equipment used when trapping moths.

I did send and email to the supplier with pictures dated the 6th of July just past but have to date had no reply, but it may be that it's taking them time to investigate.