Favourite time of day for insect observations?

I’m interested to know what your search patterns are like when it comes to insect observations, and what effects you’ve noticed on volume of observations. First thing in the morning? After dark only? Multiple times throughout the day?

I like to do an intentional loop around the house when I wake up (well past sunrise unfortunately lol) to check for morning leftovers, and several during the late evening (10pm-3am). During the afternoons I keep my eyes peeled of course for any extras, but definitely see a lot fewer, other than the occassional pollinator.

I definitely see the highest volume of species after dark, whether that’s from Moths being attracted to the light, spiders coming out, or beetles under polypores. But in the mornings (not yet, but probably in a month or two), I see the highest volume of wasps begin to emerge and hang out around the house.

What are your favourite times of day to inat, and what type of species are you generally looking for at that time?


I usually go out to the pond in the afternoon for insects and other organisms. I also roll over logs for bugs around that time too. early morning and evening definetely have more insects, but that means mosquitos too, and I don’t like going to bed covered in bugspray lol.

I also go out into our woods in the afternoon, when I am done with work, animal care, etc. all of my organism hunts turn into skull hunts though, haha.

Birds are all over the place in the morning.

I want to put up a sheet and stay out to watch for moths. I would love to see some cecropia and luna moths! I am always tired in the evening though, so idk when I’ll get to that.


Midday is best for me (10am - 2pm) then again from 8-10pm for moths


It depends a lot on what kind of organism you are looking for (e.g. butterfly vs. spiders) and even within those organisms it might depend a lot (e.g crab spiders vs. agelenids).

I come from an aesthetical marophotography background and within that community going out on other times then just after sunrise or before sunset was a big no-no … and the noon-shootings I always did and always will were almost seen as sinful… what aweful light. Yeah, maybe. But you can observe nice organisms and behaviours you will not see any other times. And it’s the best time for the sit-and-wait-approach I enjoy so much, as the critters are so active then and will just come to you.

So in the end I just crab my camera if I feel like it and do not care what time it is… there will always be something interesting to find for a observation-generalist like me


The favorite time for me is when I get out the door. I find more butterflies around 10am
I feed hummingbirds so I can watch for when they’re not at the feeders , then hit the flowers to spot them. Sitting by bloomers is good all day.


During the day for bees, butterflies, and some flies and beetles. Dusk onwards for most moths, some flies, some beetles, centipedes, millipedes, and spiders.


Most of my photos of insects are taken in the morning, around 10am-1pm, that’s when the insects don’t move a lot, so it’s easier for me to take a shot.

In summer, I usually look for insects, like moths or spiders around 7pm-11pm though I don’t have many observations at that time.

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A couple of years ago I would have said after sundown. My back porch light was a massive producer of moths and various other interesting things. Then the property next door sold to a person who saw plants as a nuisance and wanted an “easy to maintain” property (i.e. lawn and gravel with as few leaves to clean up as possible). Our own property was still pretty natural but the impact of hos mowing and chopping was immediately noticeable.

We have since moved to a property that we have not yet managed to naturalize (give us a few months, at least) that is surrounded by mostly lawns and agriculture. There’s an enormous natural park a kilometre away but the intervening terrain is not insect friendly. My largest moth count to date is one. I have acquired a black light. We’ll see if that helps get the count up. We have overnight lows below zero for the next few nights so we’ll have to wait and see.


I like to make a loop around my neighborhood, checking the empty plots that border the lake, looking under logs and such. I can imagine that I look odd to my neighbors who see a kid walk into places no one else goes and go around flipping things over every day

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Due to school work and sunburns, I am out around 3-9 pm, give or take and with some brakes for supper etc… We also run a little farm, so some work to do with that. Thank goodness I am homeschooled!


I don’t go out in search of any specific insect or spider, my main aim is to be surprised! That means that any time is good for me. Morning, midday, evening - there is always beautiful arthropods to observe!


Most of my insect observations are when I’m outside, so usually late morning and mid afternoon, depending on the day. That being said, I’d still love to try going out at different times, using different methods, etc. It’s probably why I see more bees and butterflies than midges and moths, anyways.

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I’m a night-time kind of person! Just leave the porch light on, check up on it every hour or so and let the bugs come to me!


The more times a day the better, first is 4-5a.m. for sleeping moths, then afternoon for active diurnal, then depending on when you can go in the evening, but the darker the better, for moths not earlier than 1a.m. usually if you need results.

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Dawn for moths. I grab a coffee and my camera and go check under the security light. This time of year I need to do it early enough to beat the early birds looking for an easy meal.

Early morning for bees, wasps, flies and anything else trying to warm up after a chilly night. The first spots to get 30 minutes or so of direct sun each day are popular with those trying to warm up.

I’m new to seriously looking for butterflies but so far I’ve noticed they seem to be late risers and prefer the hotter, sunnier, parts of the day.

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sunrise for moths, pollinators, web weaving spiders, leaf/tree hoppers

mid morning for active hunting spiders like jumpers, wolf, lynx

mid afternoon to sunset for butterflies, pollinators, spiders

don’t have much of a yard, do get toads frequently after dark in the warmer months.


One to two hours before sunrise to get nocturnal insects at the lights. This is more productive than right after dark, especially as they are settled down, more calm.
Then about mid morning until noon in search of dragonflies and butterflies.

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