Celebrate National Moth Week by Exploring Nature at Nighttime
By Melissa Walker, Environmental Education Specialist
Posted on July 16, 2021, July 16, 2021

Moth Week

Celebrate National Moth Week’s 10th anniversary by exploring nature at nighttime. Get outside to observe moths in their local habitat and learn about their role as pollinators in North Texas.

Many night blooming plants rely on moths and other nighttime visitors to spread their pollen. Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth. Its estimated that there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 species! Shapes and sizes span from the size of a pinhead to as large as your hand and their colors and patterns vary from bright and vibrant to muted for camouflaged.

Plants benefit from attracting a particular type of pollinator to its flower. This ensures that its pollen will be carried to another flower of the same species and hopefully resulting in successful reproduction. Recent studies show that pollen transport by moths has networks that are larger and more complex than networks for daytime pollinators. Moths may be less efficient pollinators than butterflies and bees but may help create more diversity in the ecosystem.

Flowers that are visited by moths are typically white or dull in color and are typically in clusters, open in the late afternoon or at night and provide a landing platform. Moths look for flowers that produce ample nectar such as morning glory, tobacco, yucca and gardenia.

Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark.

  • Any type of light will attract moths. Use your porch light or purchase blacklights at a party supply store.
  • Drape a white sheet over a clothesline outside and set up a light to shine on it. Moths use this surface to rest. This makes them easy to observe and photograph.
  • Provide moths with fermented sugar and fruit recipe. Brush the mixture on a tree trunk an hour before dusk then check every 30 minutes to see what’s coming to the food.
  • Document what you find by taking photographs and uploading them to sites like iNaturalists, Project Noah or BugGuide. These platforms provide a place for nature enthusiasts and citizen scientist to share their findings and provides data for future research.

Visit www.nationalmothweek.org for kid friendly activities and local moth events. You can find more information on Moths and other pollinators at https://www.xerces.org/pollinator-conservation.

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