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Saturday, 21 September 2019

A 'ornet sat in a 'oller tree, a nasty, spiteful, twud were he!




This handsome creature, along with an unmentionably derisory number of moths, turned up in the Robinson MV trap at its rebirth in Ffairfach last night (Friday 20 September 2019). Poor results were  caused by a minor miscalculation on my part relating to the power of the mercury vapour lamp in the Robinson trap.I had boxed in the trap at the back of the garden shed and thus had ensured that neighbours would not have the light shining directly into their windows. The light was, however, still able to attract moths from the nearby woodland. All began well and I soon caught the Hornet shown above. By 22.30, however, it all began to go horribly wrong, for the power of the lamp was brightly illuminating the entire face of the woodland as far as the eye could see! I determined that it would be somewhat churlish towards the neighbours to leave the beast running until dawn, so, somewhat reluctantly, I switched off at 23.00. A swift trip back to the drawing board is now needed (!) and is likely to include the purchase of a new actinic trap of a vastly better specification than the one I used to carry up the mountain. Watch this space, if you are so minded!

My memory, such as it is these days, suggests that the last time I saw a Hornet may have been as long as half a century ago, so I was delighted with that.

P.S.: I have named the Hornet Hebe, after the Greek godess of youth, so, Hebe is a Shebee!

11 comments:

  1. Goodness me, a Greek Scholar, is there no end to that man's talents? Seriously Steve, I agree with your perceived awe of Hornets. None here, but I see them when visiting my son's place in SW France, feasting on his figs. Live and let live type creatures, not aggressive unless provoked. Regarding the actinic trap I'm very happy with my 22W green synergetic one obtained from Paul Batty a good few years ago. The light is relatively benign yet it's given me some interesting records.

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  2. Thank you for your comments, Chris. Following your suggestion I've visited Paul Batty's web sight and will probably purchase kit to turn the Robinson into a 40 watt actinic, so long as I can revert to MV when required. Does anyone know how bright that would appear (to humans) compared with MV and how prolific a catch is likely compared with MV? I've no useful experiense of such things. Any further suggestions would be very much appeciated.

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    1. I haven't got any actinic lamps brighter than 22W, Steve, and that's little more than a gentle glow. If you think in terms of an old-style tungsten 40W bulb, which is not very bright, I don't suppose that the equivalent actinic wattage would be any brighter. You wouldn't expect it to be quite as efficient in attracting moths as a 150W MV lamp, but I've been quite happy with the performance of my 22W trap over the years, and even the little 6W actinic Heath trap can punch well above its weight. It might be interesting to pose the question to one of the F/B Groups, they're usually very helpful over technical matters.

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  3. We have had quite a lot of hornets here over the last two years. I get several in the porch attracted to the light. I inadvertently trod on one the other day ans got stung but my fault. I love them.

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  4. Have you thought of temporarily putting up a screen (eg a section of fencing) so that the light does not DIRECTLY shine towards your neighbours. My roof-top actinic (40 W by the way) is completely visible from my neighbours but the much brighter MV is shielded by fencing, bushes and trees in one direction but directly visible from houses c 90ft away in the other direction. I once lived in a house where the council modified the street lamp outside my bedroom to quite a bright light, but I got used to it. Tell neighbours that the lights deter burglers!

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  5. "Great minds think alike," or so they say. This is pertinent, for your screening suggestion (many thanks) is, in fact, exactly what I have done! Do yu get a good haul of moths with your 40w? How does it compare with the MV? More thanks, in anticipation!

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  6. I've got a single tube Skinner that can also take an MV. I've only used the MV three times since I got it, still getting used to it and a bit wary of rain, and neighbours. I was really disappointed with the catch on all three occasions, huge amounts of midges and few moths. I've read that the Skinner doesn't retain moths as well with an MV as an actinic. Can anyone say why? I always close up as dawn breaks. Is an MV better with a Heath or Robinson??
    Questions, questions.
    I did get a late Peach Blossom yesterday and Black Rustics galore.

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  7. Hi Jane. The Robinson trap is usually considered to have the best retention capability of all the trap types and I'm sure that this is so. I also have no doubt that MV in a Robinson will out perform any other type of trap, although there may well be some differences in the species attracted by actinic traps. On a really good night a Robinson MV can attract and accommodate more than 400 moths - this is simply not feasible with any Heath trap. Now you can sit back and watch me being shot down in flames by more knowledgable trappers!

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    1. .....as well as those who can spell knowledgeable correctly!


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  8. I'm sure Steve's right in claiming that a Robinson MV trap out-performs other types. I don't have one - yet. I have a large wooden Skinner and a smaller perspex one, they're convenient in being easily dismantled and portable, but as Jane says they tend to leak moths - the long aperture is easier to escape from than the funnel of the Heath type which is easy to seal off by stuffing a cloth in it; this is what I do to close it down at daybreak. My large Heath trap certainly has room to accommodate several hundred moths and the small 6W tin one is no slouch, Jon Baker kindly gifted this trap to me when I started in 2010, saying that it was surprising how effective it could be. 'Variety is the Spice of Life', I enjoy alternating the different traps and hope to add a Robinson to the selection in due course!

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