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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Mountain revisited

I went up to Pwll Dudrwyth in daylight yesterday, to get some location photos and to prospect for a site where I would be happier to leave the trap overnight: away from curious visitors, including sheep and horses.

 Pwll Dudrwyth (with friends).

Proposed trap site (in the boulders, just to the right of centre: comments on choice of location welcomed).

Abundant Common Heaths present (couldn't get near them: had to settle for this heavily cropped telephoto effort).

Advice needed from Heath trap specialists: how many egg trays do you put in a trap?


  1. Your query about egg trays is very interesting, Steve. I've often wondered whether the arrangement of trays, cartons or whatever inside the trap has a bearing on whether, after entering the trap, a moth is inclined to settle rather than attempt to exit. Having never seen how anyone else goes about it, I decided to line the inner sides of the container, loosely, with the material that supermarkets use to pack fruit (apples, etc). I then arrange egg trays, six small half-trays in the case of the small actinic trap, in the cavity, leaving a reasonable space below the funnel for the moths to enter. It would be very interesting to know what others do.

  2. I put the `egg part` of cartons, with the `egg side` down arranged around the side, leaving a space for the moths to fall down.
    I`ve never had problems with sheep or horses re my traps left overnight.

  3. The only thing I'd add about egg boxes is that it's worth leaving a hole below the funnel a) so that the moths fall down towards the bottom of the trap; b) so they can't climb up and escape through the funnel. After that, it's just the more the merrier I think. As I usually trap on a sheet (to reflect the light up and make moths on the ground more visible) I often pile some egg-boxes around the sides of the trap too.

  4. I put a layer of intact egg boxes (with lids removed) in the bottom and then pile other layers (3 in total) above. There are always lots of moths in the trap but also lots around the trap too. Some are several metres away. I have often wondered how many metres away from the trap would be worth checking?

  5. This query about egg boxes seems to have opened a whole can of worms! Your comments are much appreciated. I've never considered putting egg trays outside the trap, but it's clearly a great idea if it doesn't rain. By the way, trays holding 30 eggs are available, cheaply (cheep cheeply, perhaps) in packs of 10 from Wynnstay (formerly Carms and Pumpsaint Farmers) outlets. These can be tailored to fit the apertures of Heath or Robinson traps to avoid dislodging moths during removal, while retaining high quantities of moths.

  6. Another hint too, Steve....I carry my motorbike battery (to power the actinic) to site in a double layer of strong plastic bags. When I leave the actinic (and of course its battery), I tuck the top of the bags closed and hold them closed with two clothes pegs (which are kept with the battery in the bag, so that you don`t forget them). The closed bag prevents rain getting to the battery.
    The joy of such traps is that you can leave them out overnight, even when heavy rain is forecast. I`ve had - as said before - really good catches in thunderstorms.
    When you move around sites with your mobile actinics there is far less chance of having bird predation problems, as they have n`t learnt that traps = food, as at regular home traps.
    To me, by far the best trapping fun is `mobile actinic`, though home trapping is very valuable too.

  7. Thanks, Ian, for those very helpful comments.

  8. First, Steve I thought I was seeing double in your first photo, my lab is exactly the same colour. On wild trapping I also find it more exciting. But it seems my set-up is slightly different.
    I have built 3 marine plywood boxes for my batteries to keep them off the ground. They are the Yuasa REC12 - 12 12Ah
    They have now lasted me 7 years. In the bottom I"ve fitted a 15mm wire mesh to save them from the rain, and then as many boxes as I can fit.

  9. To me, even more fun than leaving a mobile actinic is waiting with an MV (or several) and generator as you see the moths coming in and can get to know their flight appearance and behaviour. Torch netting is also super fun!

  10. Hi, Bryan. I use a Lucas 22ah sealed gel battery designed for use with a golf trolly. It weighs a bit over 12lb.

    Hi, Sam. I don't think my Robinson MV trap will fit in my pack, particularly if I have to carry a generator as well! I carried 40lb up the mountain the other day: I was slaughtered. Back in the day, I could backpack all over the Cairngorms for 4 or 5 days with that size load, but those days are long gone, I'm afraid.