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Mothfest

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I had no idea there were 11,000 species of moths in North America, and about 3,000 in our province.  Scientists estimate that there are more than 150,000  species of moths in the world and for comparison there are approximately  17,500 species of butterflies. Moths are everywhere and they are beautiful.   I also had no idea that there is a National Moth Week (July 22 – 20 this year) and it’s purpose is to celebrate the life cycle , beauty and habitat of moths.  This year  the “moth-ers”  will celebrate Tiger moths.  Tiger moths are found throughout the world and can have interesting colors and wing patterns.  National Moth Week is all part of Global Citizen Science which encourages people of all ages and abilities to learn about and document the moths they find in their backyard, park and community.  Everyone can gather information and submit it. 

My interest in  moths began a few evenings ago when David Beadle and his fellow “moth-ers” came to our house to set up three “moth traps” for the evening.  These “moth’ers” were being hosted by a local naturalist who asked to use our yard for the project.  These guys had been up to help with the Dahl Forest Bioblitz in June and were returning for more information. They were looking for specific moths of course, but also had a general interest to see what they would find.   David is one of the authors of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths which is an excellent resource on how to attract and identify moths.   We now have an autographed copy!  He and his associates set up “light traps” in our yard, in their host’s yard and also in another location by a pitcher plant since there are some moths that live in or on these plants.  These “moth’ers” were positive, smart and enthusiastic individuals who celebrate moths. 

David, who is from England originally and is a super keen birder and photographer as well as “moth-er” , used the word brilliant to describe our beautiful meadow, the moths and his experience in Haliburton County.  It is always so interesting to meet someone who is so incredibly passionate and knowledgeable.  It gives so much hope for the state of the world when there are people like David who are paying such close attention to creatures like the moths.  300 species of moths were collected in their evening survey.  They identified them, took pictures and set them free.   They will come back to Haliburton.  They loved it here (who doesn’t).   Moths are nocturnal so they only come out at night. They can be incredibly beautiful and colourful like the pink Primrose Moth, or they can be subtle in colour and even camouflaged so they are hard to find.  The beautiful thing about moths is that they are everywhere and all you need is a light bulb at night to attract them. If you or anyone in your family wants more information check out

Nationalmothweek.org. 

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