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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

MV vs Actinic

I put two traps out on Monday night, the MV at the back of the bungalow and a small actinic at the front.  Conditions were not too bad, a stiff breeze but mild and largely dry.  The MV attracted 7 moths of 4 species and a very large number of other insects, mainly flies, the actinic produced 29 moths of 16 species.   I have noticed this difference in the 'performance' of the two trap types of late and I wonder whether others have experienced a similar trend, or whether it might be a characteristic of the particular MV lamp I use (Philips HPL-N 125W).  The light is clearly very attractive to flies (and, in the summer, wasps) which is a major irritation since I empty the trap in an enclosed space, a utility room, which becomes full of unwanted insects.
According to a recent blog by Adam Mantell on the Glamorgan site (24 September), the EU are causing MV lamps to be phased out in 2015, which may make them difficult to obtain in the future, unless they can be imported from non-EU countries such as the USA.
My catch on Monday night contained nothing new; Silver Ys, Dark Sword-grass and Rush Veneer were the only visitors.


  1. I often get better results from my actinic too Chris, perhaps because it captures/retains more moths. The MV I use may have greater `pulling power` though, but seems to catch less -perhaps!
    My method of trapping is to set traps out at home or away and then examine them first thing in the morning, though when nights are longer, as now, you can also check the `home trap` at intervals before bed. I don`t `watch` the trap to see what arrives, as some do when trapping and I suspect that moths `come and go` as a consquence. The other night I was amazed at the large number of silver ys on the house walls near the trap (70 or so), but many had gone by first light. I only use actinics away from home, incidentally.

  2. I there are differences between portable, Heath Trap Actinics, and larger more powerful Actinics. I'm guessing yours isn't a portable one, Chris (unless with a generator). An advantage of MV is that one can sit by it and see everything that comes in, which is certainly not practical with a Heath Trap (not sure about bigger Actinics though). A lot of the visitors to my MV are outside on the sheet, walls and grass, but I've had a good number of 500+ nights with it, albeit usually when I've sat with it as well as checking the final catch.

  3. Thank you for your contributions, Ian & Sam. Trapping procedures have to be influenced by personal circumstances, and for one reason or another mine don't allow much supervision of the traps once they're 'live', which seems essential in order to get the best out of MV traps in particular. The best I can do is to inspect the trap before retiring (usually between 10 and 11pm), make a note of what's around at the time and do the same first thing in the morning, before switching it off and removing it into the utility room. Consequently I miss out on plenty of moths that come and go in the meantime, but there's not much I can do about that. The actinic I used on Monday night at the front was a 6W portable one; although I do have a larger 22W semi-portable one. I don't use the MV at the front because the bungalow faces the B4459, and although the road is screened by a hedge I'm wary that the bright light might distract passing motorists.