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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2006, 08:32 AM
DL DL is offline
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Trap problem for moth the experts

Any advice on this one appreciated.

Although I have run traps in other locations before this is the first year I have set one up in my back garden. The trap is not collecting any moths. I have seen two in there but both escaped before opening time.

I have not yet tried MV bulbs but seem to have tried everything else, again I have not had problems with this at other locations. I have used acitinic, halogen from 10w right up to 500w, a liquid fueled lantern and even in desperation ordinary domestic including flourescent.

The trap is however always full of lacewings, crane-flys and assorted ufo's.

While out checking the trap there are always plenty of moths flapping around the garden including in the buddliea, the flower corner and dancing around against the house windows. Every night I have to collect, ID then evict moths from inside the house.

I have noticed that when I turn the light on and walk from the shed to the trap that a mini cloud of crane-flys, lace wings and midgies has already gathered. Would these deter the moths ?

I have also only been running the trap for about 3-4 hours due to frequent overnight rain and dont want to wake up to a papier-mache and moth nightmare.
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:57 AM
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Hi DL, I am making some assumptions here but , I think I can see a couple of problems with your moth garden catching.

Firstly when you say you are running your trap for a couple of hours, once the light goes out the moths will escape, it needs to be on all night, many moths come out in the middle of the night, or certainly a few hours after what we think of as dark. I know i tried this for a while, put it on a timer that will go out after dawn. I get up early fill in the trap hole and go back to bed!! otherwise you have to contend with the birds!!! that's another story.

You really must use MV in a garden (actually fullstop, its the wavelength of light that attracts the moths et al to the trap, black bulbs have a 70-80% catch rate it doesn't attract all spp, the same with actinic etc, MV are the way to go!!) the reason i say this is, experience again, gardens have hedges, walls, fences etc which restrict the light therefore you need a very bright light, i have found, that lights upwards to the sky. In the open countryside the light travels so much further, I put up baffles of plywood to shield my neighbours upstairs windows, you can see the shadow and know where to place the baffle to cast the shadow!!

To combat the weather i place a pyrex glass shallow round baking tray type thing which sits upside down over my bulb to stop water hitting the bulb, (expensive but chepaer in the long run than MV bulbs, heat resistant and wont break easily) my home made trap has veins in an x shape looking from above to direct in the moths, before i fitted this the moths would bounce off the bulbs into the undergrowth and stay there hiding from the light, so it's worth looking around the trap in the morning amongst all foliage for the moths after trapping. The very expensive robinson trap has a weather shield i believe too.

Also plant as many wildlife friendly spp as possible, im sure you do, uncut grass areas, you know the drill im sure
Finally my advice would be to not trap too often from my experiences at a couple sites i know people trap every night and numbers have crashed.

I hope my experiences help you.

Last edited by Mr Mag00; 05-09-2006 at 10:05 AM. Reason: spelling and additions
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:25 AM
DL DL is offline
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Thanks very much for the advice MR Magoo.

Looks like the MV it is then. It is just mildly frustrating that I get at 5-10 species per night within a couple of hours of darkness on either the window or in the house yet none in the trap.

I have a close fitting lid that I put on the trap immediately after switching off and removing the light out so they must have been escaping before that.

Although the trap is in my garden I live ruraly and with the exception of neighbours immediately next door the nearest buildings or other light sources in any other direction are all a mile + away so I have used some very bright although non-MV lamps that I have.

I will also try rumaging around on the ground surrunding the trap.

With any luck we shall get some nights without the downpours we have been experiencing lately rain and I can try running a trap all night. I was a bit more concerned with water entering the trap.

I keep the use of the trap down to twice sometimes three times a week.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:55 PM
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Some good advice from Mr Mag00. Having veins is definitely a good idea.

I live in a rural area, use a 6W actinic Heath trap maybe once a week and get a good number of moths (my macro species list is 120+ and have only been trapping since May this year in my current location). The trap is on a light activated switch so that it turns off when the ambient light gets high enough. I usually empty it soon after dawn. Using a 6W trap, I don't have to worry too much about affecting the local moth populations. Also I don't have to worry about rain on the tube as it runs quite cool; a small funnel in a hole in the trap underneath the entrance funnels away any rain falling into the trap (the funnel has gauze in the bottom to stop the moths escaping).

The first thing I would definitely try is putting your trap on all night. If it has no rain protection then make something for it if it runs hot or the electrics are at risk.

You may have just been unlucky; some rainy nights you hardly get any moths at all. Not sure where you have your trap but, often putting it against a hedge row or natural boundary may improve things; moths often fly along hedges and borders.

You are lucky to have so little light pollution!! With 5-10 species in the house per night, you should be getting loads (unless lights on your house are distracting the moths from the trap?).

What are your surroundings? Arable/woodland etc? Sorry, not sure where Angus is (except in Scotland).
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:43 PM
DL DL is offline
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

The area is mainly lowland arable. The garden is situated at the corner of two more or less 1 kilometer long Hawthorn hedges. Four hundred meters in the other direction is a mixed broadleaf and conifer mature woodland that follows a river valley.

I will try the all night option, I was more worried about water getting in to the trap itself. It has been so wet at nights I have not had to fill the bird bowls or bird bath for weeks. Some of my electrics and lights were for construction purposes so fully waterproof. Because of the recent wet weather I was a bit concerned about MV bulbs exploding all over the garden.

On the light pollution issue it is possibly not as good as it sounds, being in the sticks means nobody uses curtains and everbody apart from us has more than one exterior light running all the time. I did wonder about the confusion of surrounding lights causing moth chaos.

I will give all the suggestions a go and let you know how I get on.
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:57 PM
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Interesting. If you have some kind of portable effort, you could try putting it in that mixed woodland. Sounds like it would be very interesting to compare that with your garden. Along with your river, you have a lot of different habitats close by and could get a lot of species!

Good luck!
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:10 PM
DL DL is offline
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Very interesting Im afraid, frequent deer poachers with high powered rifles and occasionaly the land owner chasing them with a blunderbus. I have heard the crack of rounds very close far too often to go out walking in that direction after dark.
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:55 PM
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Hi DL

I can't really add to the contibutions so far other than a tip I use. I place a white sheet on the ground and place my trap on it. This way any moths that don't go in the trap sometimes gather on the sheet. I have caught some decent moths that way.

I have to be honest I normally trap on Friday and Saturday nights only and not through the night on either nights. I usually stay up with it and turn it off between 00:30 to 01:30am. I cover the trap then check it out in the morning.

As I am trapping I can jar the specimens that I see on or around the trap, photograph them and release them after I have turned the trap off.

I don't have a sophisticated system like the other guys but I have attached the trap I use. It is home made and certainly does the job for me and I live in Urban Coventry.

I am going to start a thread about tips and hints for Moth Traps. I could certainly do with a lot more information as I am still very much a novice and it would be good to see what set up's you guys use.

John

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Old 05-09-2006, 09:47 PM
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Quote:
Originally Posted by DL
Very interesting Im afraid, frequent deer poachers with high powered rifles and occasionaly the land owner chasing them with a blunderbus. I have heard the crack of rounds very close far too often to go out walking in that direction after dark.
Ah, I see...
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:38 AM
DL DL is offline
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Re: Trap problem for moth the experts

Last night I was not intending to trap but as a small experiment left the back porch door slightly open and the interior light on - a 16w energy saving flourescent. Half an hour later I went out to get something and moths were already sitting arond the light and door so I scooped them in to bug boxes.

Five species of moth - Moth trap in the garden 0, Leaving the door open 5.

It was not practical to set the trap against the ceiling light and I had stored my lamps away in the shed. There was however a Quickie-Mart Fly Zapper (9w bulb) in the xexexexexexexe so I borrowed this and sticky taped an old poly-pocket to the front of it. I opened the porch door fully set the trap down in the doorway switched the interior light off and sat the zapper on top of the trap. After 45 minutes six species of moth.

I did not leave it on any longer because by that time it had been raining for 24 hours and a number of (very sticky) slugs and snails had invited themselves in.
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