In Lockdown with mothing to do – Pt2 – Clearwings

/ in Marek's Muse by Marek
Photo of our trap - a plastic tub with an open lid, suspended by a thread
Hanging on by a thread

I thought that for Part 2 I would focus more on the equipment and mechanism for recording Clearwings as this area does not appear to be as well documented as conventional moth trapping.

The picture above shows the trap I purchased and used to attract Clearwings to our garden.

Please note that this trap is only suitable for Clearwings as larger moths, such the Emperor Moth mentioned in my previous post, are far too large and could cause damage to the moth itself.

The idea is that you place one of the pheromone lures into the cage located in the top of the trap and hang in a suitable place in the garden and wait – ‘Simples’

2x2 grid of photos of the components of our trap - a bung with vertical slices cut out, different lures to fit, and a vial
Size matters

The cage is obviously larger than the lures themselves and the above image is purely for illustration purposes.

The lures come in two flavours known as Bungs and Vials.

The beige bung was a lure I purchased for trapping the Pea Moth as I was growing peas both in the back garden and at my allotment.

I do not expect the colour to be in any way significant, but if I hear otherwise, I will document the fact in a later post.

With this lure I was unsuccessful in recording Cydia nigricana (Pea Moth) which for our records was rather a shame but for our freezer a good result.

The lures themselves, if kept in the freezer can last up to three years so we will persevere as I have seen damage to our crop on previous years

We bought a selection of Clearwing lures, based on the distribution of the moths themselves, to give us the best chance of success.

Our successes were the Yellow-legged Clearwing , Orange-tailed Clearwing and the Red-belted Clearwing with one of our failures being the Currant Clearwing although we do grow black currants, red currants and gooseberries.

We had never recorded a Clearwing in the field to date, only having mistakenly inspected several wasps, hoverflies, and hornets which to the untrained eye can look similar.

You could not believe my surprise when one morning I noticed a  Red-belted Clearwing resting on the greenhouse and which was subsequently identified as the female of the species.

It may have been because I was more aware of what these Clearwings looked like and had possibly missed examples in the past when out and about.

There are several other rare Clearwings which have been recorded in Sussex at known locations, so, hopefully, we will try to visit the areas and, with a bit of luck, get some photographs for the site.

Based on our success at home I am quite sure we will be able to add more of these elusive moths to our records especially if we get a chance to revisit The Burren next year.

Having to stay very local for a large majority of this this year, for my next post the quote ‘You never know what’s on your own doorstep’ seems very apt.