Is it possible that I have an unusual influence on insects?

Feel free to say I’m wrong but… Ever since I developed an interest in insects (specifically lepidoptera), gradually more and more insects have come to my house. Even before I installed UV lightbulbs to attract insects to study.
This isn’t a case of “they where always there and I just wasn’t thinking about it”. I remember before 2021 very few moths and other insects gathered by my porch lights, even on warm summer nights.
All the sudden more and more insects just keep showing up, and more species that I haven’t seen before too. I think I would remember having 6-24+ insects swarming my porchlights, this is only a recent phenomenon, and none of my neighbors seem to have any insects at all by their porch lights. Not only that, but on two separate occasions I’ve had insects crawl into my hands when I asked and talked to them without coaxing them with my hand or otherwise touching/prodding them. Sometimes moths land on me for seemingly no reason too. When I pull into my driveway I’m sometimes greeted by a moth flying by, even if they’re nocturnal and it’s like 2 in the afternoon.

Just tonight, I found a Western Tiger Swallowtail in my driveway while I was out photographing the insects at my UV light setup. This is the first time this has ever happened to me, and when I asked my mom, who has been living in the area for 30+ years, she said this had never happened to her, even in broad daylight. -And I found this butterfly at 11:30 at night?? Not to mention I’ve also recently had a Ceanothus Silk Moth encounter which seems to be relatively rare.
From what I can see, nothing looks wrong with the butterfly, the wings, antennae, and legs are in mint condition, so I’m not sure if it’s at all injured or old. The butterfly even began to fly around my room! I currently have the butterfly in my butterfly enclosure with a piece of strawberry. To my knowledge, it goes against a butterfly’s instincts to sit on cold hard concrete, out in the open, in the middle of the night when the butterfly is (presumably) healthy and mobile. I tried some googling but only found results for “spiritual meaning of butterflies” etc. I want to know if theres any scientific explanation to why I seem to have conjured insects to my house with my mind?? They might have always been there and I was just really oblivious?


Are you doing anything to attract them?

When I started seriously birding last fall and started intentionally putting out seeds for birds I got a lot of new species.

Some people really seem to attract certain kinds of insects, my younger cousin attracts a lot of bees, wasps, and flying ants (ouch.) Maybe it’s a similar thing?

I have also noticed a lot more Taeniopteryx stoneflies in the past 6 months than at any other point in my life. If anything, I’m seeing less and less lepidopterans every year. Perhaps populations are just moving around in your favor?

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I am doing things to attract them. I have UV lightbulbs set up, and I’ve recently been planting pollinator-friendly plants. What I’m curious about is that I had suddenly more insects showing up before I did all this too.

Awareness is the first thing that comes to mind. Annoying flies become “ooo, what’s that?” and being a patient observer usually leads to more interactions. Other ideas - change of body products like lotion or shampoo, using less bug spray, bitten by a radioactive moth?


Insects are sensitive to scents and chemicals, body products/less bug spray could be it.

Insect abundances vary from year to year. If you are comparing pre-2021 with 2021 onwards, your good years are represented by a rather small sample.

Also, how can you be sure what the abundance was before you had an interest in the subject? How can you be sure abundance and diversity were low in the period when you weren’t taking much notice?


Correlation is not causation?

On this week’s hike we showed a new member the flower for which Slangkop is named. First one she said sadly, is that all, is that it? Not very tall. Brownish greenish underwhelming. Flowers hang down.

Then she began noticing them ‘everywhere’


One of the things that blew my mind when I started birding was the diversity of species in areas I had been going to my entire life but had never noticed before. It went from maybe noticing 15-20 species to the following year seeing nearly 300 species. I couldn’t believe how brightly-colored and intricately-plumaged some of the birds I had never noticed were. The first Green-winged Teal I saw was awe-inspiring.

This is one of my favorite aspects of learning about the natural world. You can go to the same place over and over again and each time see something new. Every little thing you learn opens your eyes a bit more to what’s out there.


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