Day 4 (Al)Luring

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Todays activity…moth trapping. I used to live in a very rural part of Ireland and remember moths covering our kitchen window at night if we turned the indoor lights on. I haven’t seen anything like that since living in Wales, and can’t actually remember the last time I saw a moth . This seemed like the perfect chance to become reacquainted.

I knew that there were essentially 3 options:

  1. Ready made light trap.
  2. Home made light trap.
  3. Sugar solution.
  4. Rotten fruit

The first option turned out to be a bit too expensive for my ‘surving-on-maternity-pay’ budget. Fear of electrocution or a power tool related trip to A & E crossed ‘home made’ light traps of my list of options. We already have a ‘butterfly snack bar’ out, with fruit gently decomposing , so that left option 3.

Sugar lures seemed the safest, cheapest method of seeing Moths. Apparently there are various different tried and tested ‘recipes’available . The common denominator amongst them seems to be sugar (well Duh!) and beer, fortunately both things I consider to be ‘store cupboard essentials’.

My chosen recipe used approximately 250ml of stout, 500g brown sugar and 3 tbsp syrup. Other alternatives are treacle, and dark molasses sugar is the bees (or rather moths)knees. You can also try adding a drop of rum or vanilla essence to the mixture to make it even more tantalising.

In case you fancy giving it a go, this is what I did:

  • Put ingredients in pan and bring to boil, stirring continuously.
  • allow to simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat.
  • Allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
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Sugary stouty syrupy goodness…it smelled divine!

 

The site I found the recipe on suggested pouring the mix into a coffee jar when cool, but I decided to work with it whilst it was still warm. I took the pan outside and selected a few logs (with ready made ‘handles’) to adorn, as well as an old gatepost at the side of the house. It was quite good fun!

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Then it was time to wait. I’m not very good at being patient, so it was a good thing that I had the usual bedtime struggle with the baby and toddler to distract me.

I decided not to get my hopes up. This might not be a very lucky night, and I might not attract any moths at all. Apparently some nights are naturally better than others (low wind, warm and humid conditions) but sometimes no moths will appear even if the night is deemed ideal.

At 10.30 pm I couldn’t wait any longer. I grabbed a torch, and some red acetate to act as a filter (Moths are less affected by red light). Guess what? Not one moth on any of the sugar lures. 2 woodlice were enjoying a snack but that was it.

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I did spot a few moths flitting about over head. One alighted on the wall long enough to get a photo, but I haven’t been able to identify it yet. DSC_0427.JPG

I think this may be one to revisit and try out another recipe. I did enjoy being out after dark though, something I haven’t been able to do since having my children. As a student in Edinburgh I used to venture up Arthurs seat in the dark so I could look down on the city lights .When I first moved to Wales I often went for runs on the beach once the sun had gone down, relishing the alone time and the crashing waves, cold sand beneath my toes . As kids in Ireland we would play out in the summer until we couldn’t see the ground in front of us. We would take torches and go out to see the Sika deer that came to graze at night in our fields, or watch bats or barn owls. On one occasion my sister and I set our alarms for 2 am to get up and watch  a meteor shower. I don’t think I would have thought to go out at night again if it wasn’t for the 3o days wild challenge.