So now I’m into a whole new kind of smearing of stickiness in the dark.
OK, I know Iâ€™m being a bit indulgent with that title. Let’s face it, I’m cheap. Anyways, I’m having a little dalliance with the idea of going on a moth hunting party.
Uh-huh. Thatâ€™s right, a moth hunting party. But no moths harmed!
A schmear of stickiness, slick sweetness on a tree. A moth alights. Unfurls its science-fiction spiral tongue and licks away and there’s you with your wee torch (or candle if youâ€™ve uber rustic) getting to stare at the glorious wings and dark wonderfulness of the rather maligned night creature youâ€™ve attracted.
I’m intrigued by the idea of how I might attract winged creatures of the dark. And be a “moth-er”. What about you? You into that idea?
Sure, butterflies are gorgeous. All flamboyant giddiness and elegant sunbeams on flower petal visits.
Moths are sensuous and, and, – and they are nocturnal and therefore thrilling! Surely all of us have gotten a fright by a moth suddenly fluttering around at us when weâ€™ve put a light on in the dark?
Moths to me are forever connected to childhood semi somnambulant midnight visits to outside dunnies slipping down rotten wooden steps, squatting over long-drops, perching on the wobbly rims of port-a-loos on sandbanks and various other basic toilets or plain old alfresco peeing and squeals of argh! whatâ€™s that fucking soft fluttery erratic cobwebby thing flitting at me, all shadows and confusion and ARGH!
You can’t swat at it because thereâ€™s the very serious issue of their dusty wings being so excruciatingly delicate and you killing something in your fearfulness. ‘Do not touch me!’ say these wings. ‘Do not touch me or I will die!’
This sort of do not-ness is very hard for us humans to deal with. When I first learned that if you even delicately, reverently, lovingly touched a mothâ€™s wing you brushed off the dust leaving it crippled so it would die a horrible, long and torturous flutters of helplessness death something inside me wept for the delicacy of life and the colossal power humans have over it.
So, having discovered some months ago a recipe for luring moths to your garden for mutual gain â€“ they have an easy meal, you get to stare at their loveliness and know you attracted them â€“ I am keen to do this, but also strangely frightened. Not of the moths. I don’t know what. Something in me?
Maybe itâ€™s the furtive creeping about in my garden at night and its big bushes and old trees, loud snuffling hedgehogs, previously mentioned foxes, an odd deer(!) as well as the usual squirrels, mice and spiders. [Oh God, one of the cats brought a dead young squirrel to the door today. I think the squirrel fell out of a tree. I took it off the cat since he had already eaten and we left the squirrel on the fox path. The fox has now had it for its supper.]
Itâ€™s their world Iâ€™d be in.
But. A-ha! It’s our world. Now I discover Moth Hunting Parties arranged by people who can even name the moths youâ€™re looking at! Now, I must confess to having at the moment a very large and spiky bug up my ass about entomologists because of their infuriating continuation, in these days of diminishing and endangered wildlife, to collect bugs and other insects.
It’s estimated that in the UK numbers of moths have HALVED since 1975. So if you ever splatted a moth, I’m sorry to say, you’re part of that dessimation.
However, I do believe that at moth hunting parties collecting is not allowed. No more moths pinned on white card under glass, thanks very much. Now we get to paint sticky fruit on trees and see them at their happiest; alive and eating – even drinking beer! Now thatâ€™s the kind of wild party I like.
RSPB’s fabulous, comprehensive resource for attracting moths (and butterflies)
Recipe for ‘moth brew’ stickiness to attract and feed moths
Moth activities, fun with moths
The Amateur Entomologists Society (UK) Join to go on a moth hunting party but don’t let them persuade you to collect!
The Royal Entomological Society
The image is of a moth resting on a moth whisperer’s hand so it is very safe. It’s a polyphemus moth (whose wings look like another night hunter, the owl, to scare away predators – moths are very smart and know the dangers of the dark, huh?). Photo borrowed from moth whisperer herself,Â Lisa Ellersf.