Learn to love moths

Monday 2nd October 2017

Discover why moths are important and what you can do to help them …

Many people find moths unpleasant or scary, maybe because most of them fly at night and are attracted to light – thus ending up fluttering around our bathrooms and bedrooms!

But, as all species, they play an important role in the great web of life. They are important inhabitants of our gardens, both as pollinators and by providing food for other garden wildlife such as bats, birds, toads and hedgehogs – a single brood of blue tit chicks can eat about 15,000 moth caterpillars! To avoid being eaten by all these predators, most caterpillars and adult moths have developed clever camouflage colours and patterns. 

The peppered moth is an example of a species where natural selection due to camouflage has happened over a relatively short time span. As the skies and trees got covered with soot and pollution during the Industrial Revolution, numbers of a darker-coloured variant (Biston betularia carbonoaria) increased. They were simply better camouflaged; and, by 1970, in some polluted areas nearly 99% were black. With less pollution around, this has now changed: the dark moths’ advantage has disappeared and the lighter type is in dominance.
Most of the UK’s 2,500 species of moth can be found in gardens – even a small garden can support over a hundred species! You can encourage them to your garden by having a variety of plants and structure. Night-scented plants such as honeysuckle, evening primrose and sweet rocket are all good at attracting moths.

Why not help moths at home and download our FREE Wildlife Trust activity sheet? Or come along to one of the events organised to celebrate ‘Moth Night’ - there's one at Pensychnant Nature Conservation Centre, near Conwy, on 14 October between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM.  (For more information, please contact Mark Sheridan: mark.sheridan.mgc@gmail.com)