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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Wasps, birds etc

#2 in Sam's guide to sucking eggs for grandmoth'ers...

Having just posted a comment about wasps, I thought it might be worth asking what Carms moth'ers do with their traps during the day. 

I used to empty my catch into the flowerbed and put the trap away for the next night, but then I noticed the birds queuing up to eat the released catch.

Leaving it where it was so the moths could wake up and fly away in the morning didn't work, as the birds still got the moths.

Then I tucked it into a shady nook but the birds soon found that.

Next I put it in a lean-to shed with the sheet hanging up like a tent over the trap to keep the birds out.  That worked, except I left a wasp in one morning and it brought its buddies from the colony, leaving just a pile of moth wings.

The shed and sheet option is OK (if wasps are removed) assuming you've got a shed/open garage.  Any moths that wake up can fly/crawl out from the sheet during the day, and anything left can be released safely at dusk prior to setting the trap again.

Thankfully an MV trap allows me to switch the trap off while it's still dark (usually pre-midnight), so the moths can disperse themselves before dawn.  The catch will be lower than all-night trapping, but usually suffices.

There's no right or wrong answers, but it's something to think about!


  1. I always take the trap to a spot well away from the trapping location and tap the moths into the densest vegetation I can find. I'm pretty confident the bulk of the catch are well hidden enough to survive the day

  2. I empty trap completely, putting many of moths into large jars and tipping them into various areas of dense vegetation, including beds of stinging nettles. If there a lot of moths in/on egg boxes, once I have carefully checked them these are taken to similar areas and knocked off into the vegetation. Those taken away for ID in jars are tipped out in long grass just outside front door where no birds tend to congregate (well away from feeders and other predators). As we are on a farm luckily we have lots of 'wild' areas!

  3. What to do with moths? Well there`s that book `Enjoying Moths`, full of useful recipes.....
    Seriously, it is a problem at home with me too. I feed the birds in the garden and they are quite tame - eg nicking my redcurrants right in front of my eyes etc. As for moths, I`ve got a tame robin who will sit on the box when I am going through the i/d`s. I have to `shoo` him away.
    My only trick is that immediately before releasing the moths - I have a very large garden with plenty of moth cover- I feed the birds [with `robin mix`] at their regular feeding site, right next to the house. When this is happening I go elsewhere in the garden and release the moths, into good vegetation and not always the same area.
    Of course, this is not a problem usually when you trap away from home, as it is not regular -with different sites being trapped [now, that`s persuasion for you lot to trap somewhere different!]. Sometimes though, I get problems - I remember a stonechat who had discovered my trap, with wings of marsh oblique-barreds all around the trap [the moths inside were ok] when I once trapped on the gritstone ridge nr Carmel. I try to disperse the moths even when `trapping out` so that chance finds by birds are reduced.
    You can keep the moths covered all day in the traps when the weather is n`t too hot and release the next evening, this being easier in spring and autumn due to day/night length and temperatures.

  4. I have a utility room at the back of the garage, which is detached from the bungalow. This is where I take the trap once I've switched the light off and made a note of the moths around and about, normally before daybreak to beat the birds to it. I then leave the trap in the utility room and either return to bed (if it's worth it!), have breakfast, or both. Emptying the trap is the first job after breakfast. After recording and photographing the contents I put the egg cartons etc in a large flat box and put it in the barn, covered with a sheet of cardboard. This seems to work; I've yet to see any sign that the contents of the box have suffered casualties!