Why moths? With more than 10,000 species in North America alone, moths offer endless options for study, education, photography, and fun. Moths can be found everywhere from inner cities and suburban backyards, to the most wild and remote places. The diversity of moths is simply astounding. Their colors and patterns range from bright and dazzling, to so cryptic that they define camouflage. Moth shapes and sizes span the gamut, with some as small as a pinhead and others as large as a hand. Most moths are nocturnal and need to be sought at night to be seen, but others fly like butterflies during the day. Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them. Popular interest in moths is rapidly growing, as noted by recent publications and web-based resources. The new Peterson Field Guide to the Moths by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie, moth caterpillar guides by David Wagner, and a vast number of moth-oriented Internet resources such as the â€œMoth Photographers Groupâ€ and â€œBugGuideâ€ are just some examples of mothâ€™s growing popularity. Moths are also featured widely in literature and art providing a different angle for enjoyment and study. â€œMoth Nightsâ€ are often held by nature groups, and provide an opportunity for either an introduction to the creatures, or a venue for more serious pursuits.
National Moth Week brings together everyone interested in moths to celebrate these amazing insects. This summer, groups and individuals from all the across the country will spend some time during National Moth Week looking for moths and sharing what theyâ€™ve found. Getting involved during National Moth Week is easy: attend a National Moth Night event, start an event, join friends and neighbors to check porch lights from time to time, set up a light and see what is in your own backyard, or read literature about moths, etc.Â But no matter what, participate; the richness of moths is sure to fascinate. Check out www.nationalmothweek.org for more.
Locally, four programs with the Athol Bird & Nature Club will be of interest to our readers.Â The first, on Tuesday, July 24 from 8:00 pm – midnight, is The Moths of the Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary.Â Join naturalists Dave Small and Lula Field as they travel to the Massachusetts Audubon Societyâ€™s Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester for an â€œIntroduction to Mothsâ€ â€“ a PowerPoint program at 8 introducing the families of moths likely to be encountered, followed by an evening of looking at moth-attracting lights and baited trees. Location: Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester, MA. Bring your point and shoot digital (or other) camera and flashlight. Free for ABNC and MAS members, a small fee for others. Questions: Dave@dhsmall.net.
Next, on Wednesday, July 25, from 9:00 pm – midnight, join Sue and Ron Cloutier at their home on South Main Street, New Salem, for The Moths of New Salem, the ABNC local kickoff to National Moth Week. This will be a casual evening demonstrating the placement of various types of lights to attract moths Bring your point and shoot digital (or other) camera and flashlight. Free and open to all. Questions & RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, on Thursday, July 26, from 8:00 pm – midnight, join biologist Jenn Forman Orth and Athol Bird & Nature Club naturalists Dave Small and Lula Field in an exploration of the nighttime world of moths at New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA.Â They’ll start with a brief introduction on how to attract moths with lights and bait, and include a few tips for good nighttime photography. If conditions are good, you should see up to 100 different moth species, plus a plethora of beetles, caddisflies and maybe even a cicada or two! Bring your own camera, flashlight, water and insect repellent.
Wrapping up the week, on Saturday, July 28 – Sunday, July 29, the finale of the National Moth Week celebration will be an overnight experience on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. ABNC naturalists will be joined by scientists from The Nature Conservancy, the University of Massachusetts and other organizations at the headquarters of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, a 5,100-acre property in the heart of Martha’s Vineyard. Bring your tent, sleeping bag, point and shoot digital (or other) camera and flashlight. Details are still being coordinated. RSVP Dave@dhsmall.net for updates.