Monday, 24 April 2017

Grove Farm Revisited

Stigmella crataegella
Sam and I visited Grove Farm last Sunday 23rd April (The Christmas Tree plantation of Billy Dykes' post from last June). Not many moths but we managed to net 3 Epinotia subsequana and 1 Cydia strobilella, also 1 Phyllonorycter harisella, 1 Stigmella crataegella a Small Yellow Underwing and single Nettle-tap.

Epinotia subsequana

Epinotia subsequana

Cydia strobilella
Patrick Clement

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Garden mothing in Bewdley

April has seen quality but not quantity-last week had our second record of Broom Tip and last night our second record of an unusually early Barred Hook Tip. Few micros but did manage a Incurvaria Pectinea flying around the garden in the sunshine and quickly transported into a pot for closer inspection-a female.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Halesowen 20th April

Cochylis atricapitana
The garden trap went out last night for the first time in 10 days and although there were comparatively few moths I was rewarded with a pristine Cochylis atricapitana to photograph.

Oak-tree Pugs had largely replaced Brindled and there was one Golden-rod Pug, NFY. A couple of very tired looking overwintering species in the form of Acleris schalleriana and Acleris hastiana were still hanging on.
Oak-tree Pug
                                        Patrick Clement

P.S. Just dissected a very battered Noctuid from last night which is White-marked, a first for the garden!
Golden-rod Pug

Monday, 17 April 2017

Emperors Update!

Well, it wasn't so long after posting the previous entry, that the first wild male arrived. They are fast fliers and look very much like a butterfly in the air, but with quite an erratic flight pattern around the females. This one flew as far as 40 yards away in all directions before heading back again. It is rare to get Emperor coming to light traps so by far the best method is using lures. There is quite a good pheromone lure available now, but I prefer the traditional method of rearing the moth through its life cycle, using lured males to keep the gene pool healthy. The females are reluctant to lay eggs until they have mated, so they will hang upside down for days patiently. Once paired, egg laying happens soon after.

The caterpillars are also fun to rear through and quite easy. Just raise them in dry conditions, they are prone to fungal attack if in damp conditions. They start off black, then go orange and black and then green and black, forming a hard cocoon in which they pupate. Their preferred food is heather, but readily eat bramble in the wild. I've also used hawthorn and blackthorn and this year I will use Damson (less prickly). I keep the pupae in the garage over winter so they hatch at the right time. Sometimes the pupae over winter twice or even thrice before hatching. Males soon get active, so each morning and afternoon I remove the males from the cage to keep separate, so females are virgins and will emit pheromones for catching wild males. Here's two short videos of this afternoons action, which happened slightly early at 1.45pm. 2 short video clips, the first the male arriving, the second, the pairing up. If anyone is keen to try this for themselves, please let me know as I usually have plenty of spare caterpillars. then
Peter Hall

Bringsty April 16th

My captive bred Emperors have started hatching, so I have been quickly separating the females from the males and hanging the females up in a netted cage in the garden. There are currently 16 hanging up sending out pheromones to lure in males. I managed 5 males this way last year, but this year they are about 2 weeks earlier hatching, so I'll update you if I get some success again. The sun needs to come out. The window of attraction seems to be quite narrow between 2 and 4pm usually.

Female Emperor doing its stuff

Then last night despite the chill, I ran a moth trap in the garden , otherwise most of April will be gone without much activity. 16 macros and one micro with the first appearances of many, including Pale Tussock, Swallow Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent and Poplar-hawk. Commonest was Clouded Drab at 11, then Brinded Beauty and Hebrew Character with 9 each. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Brindled Beauty

Bringsty Common: Poplar-hawk

Bringsty Common: Twin-spotted Quaker