Tis' almost national moth week! What're your favorite moth species, and your best mothing tips and experiences?

It’s that time of year again- National Moth Week is almost here! Let’s make it a good one! Anyways, my favorite species is hard to choose, but I’ve always loved Underwing moths and Sphinx moths. My best experience is when, pre-inat, I was coming back from taking out the trash, and there was a White-Lined Sphinx hanging out near a light. What’re some of y’all’s favorite species, mothing tips, and experiences?

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I love Brahmaea certhia moths. It was my first ever giant moth find and I had no idea such creatures lived in South Korea, I really was captivated by the size and the beauty. The first moth I found was female and she was really really big.
Since then I have found many more.

The best way for me to find them is by going to the forest and using a 40watt UV bulb to attract moths. I would love to use a mercury bulb but my UV setup is pretty effecive. I found 6 male B. certhia moths in one night two weeks ago and another 3 last week. I can not find a female moth and I would love to rear caterpillars, so I need to think of how I can find a female moth. Every moth that comes to my light is male.

South Korea has several large species of moth but IMO this species is the most spectacular.

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My favorite moth might have to be the Indian Lily Moth! Though while the Indian lily moth is a noctuid, most of my other favorites are either Saturniid (of course), Lappet or Prominent moths. A few of my favorites are Trabala ganesha, Euglyphis laronia and much of the genus Disphragis. I love that green color!

My favorite moth that I’ve personally encountered was this Polyphemus moth! We spent maybe about an hour or so just hanging out together and it was really nice.

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Welcome to the forum! A lovely species indeed, with a beautiful pattern!

My favorite moth family is Heliodinidae and my favorite genus is Pseudanarta. I’ve had decent luck this year with porch lights on my stucco exterior and checking flowers with a flashlight, racking up 163 observations of 87-ish species. The most abundant species this year are white-lined sphinx and dusky raisin moths.

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Moth lighting is quite addictive and productive. A UV light is a must if you want to get serious, but you can use any bright conventional or LED light if you are unable to get a blacklight or mercury vapor light. Conditions as warm and humid as possible with little wind or moon is the best for diversity and numbers. Just hang a bedsheet between trees with a light and that’s all you need.

As far as the best moths, there are so many that are cool. In the eastern US there are many large saturnids and sphingids, but also a ton of smaller moths that are interesting (Habrosyne, Apantesis, Nemoria, Hyparpax, etc.). The best moths of the dog days of summer are the Catocala moths. There are over 100 species in North America and they are very variable in color and pattern. Many of them can be observed on trees by day when it’s hot, or you can use a light or put out a solution of fruit bait on trees at dusk and attract them that way.

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Can anyone give some tips? I struggle to get any moth come to light in the past week (in a new spot for that), while people in a neighbouring region has their sheets filled as metro station in peak hour with 160 species in two days, that’s more than what I found in a week of searching through the whole day, I got a total of three moths last night, is there the best hour to start and maybe they prefer certain sheet placement? There’re many active moths at night, but they just ignore the light.
I like arctiinae and geometrids, anything with cool patterns, you can check some of my favs from iNat:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19807871
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4092337
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19210796
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33058678
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30697449
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96536819
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15601382
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/99077903
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31037835
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13669594

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What kind of light are you using? I’ve seen people have the best success when using a couple different light types, usually a black light on one end of the sheet and a regular light on the other. And make sure the sheet you’re using is easy to cling to, if it’s slippery they may not stay.

Probably set up just before dusk, and check every hour or so - different types of moths fly at different times of night. If you leave the lights on when you go to bed, and get up around dawn for a final look, you’ll often have a nice collection of stuff still hanging around.

You could also try your luck with sugar baits - I haven’t had much success with it in my area, but your moths might be more interested: https://nationalmothweek.org/2012/08/01/nebraska-moth-night/

@catchang might have more tips, most of my mothing successes have been from the sheets she sets up

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I use my regular flashlight on or near max and uv light, but it’s not a very strong one, I had a medium success a month ago near Moscow, but now here I see much more moths, but they’re like on a highway about 5 metres from the ground, and at max land on my hand and immediately fly away, also they come to a Philadelphus bush to feed (including Deilephila elpenor), but there they just are afraid of light, so can’t really photograph them there too.

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If you can get a brighter light, that would probably help - not just brighter but with a wider beam than a flashlight, so it lights up the whole sheet if possible.

Another thing you can do is find a building that has an outdoor light that stays on all night, and just put the sheet right under that - around here, public restrooms in parks usually have outdoor lights and those are always good spots. Provided you’re in an area where it’s safe to be wandering around after dark, of course.

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Here how their movement (without any sheets) looked a week ago, sorry for my comments. https://youtube.com/shorts/xWHhmGnv4QQ?feature=share So I’d expect to have at least one to come down, but they don’t, so I thought maybe I’m oit in a wrong time when they’re too busy.
Thank you for your advice! I will try to make it broader, maybe I will be able to turn one of outdoor lights on for the night too.

Hah, I can see how that would be very frustrating - I think they are taunting you on purpose :) If all else fails, you could try a net with a very long handle!

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I agree with @rayray, mothing is addictive! The light set-up I usually use is two UV “black light” tubes, a 15 watt UV light for bug zappers (this one screws into a standard light socket) and a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. I also have a “portable” set-up that only uses a USB black light bar, I run it off a phone battery charger. I had this set up in the woods on the edge of my yard a few nights ago, I stopped counting when I got to 80 moths. Sugar bait is great too, but doesn’t attract a whole lot until later in the year (Aug-Nov).

All moths are cool, my favorites are Erebids, especially Tiger moths. Saturniids and Sphingids are really cool too, it’s always fun when a Cecropia Moth or a Luna Moth comes flying in.

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In my experience, you want:

  • a relatively warm night
  • little to no wind
  • few competing lights (like street lights, city lights, house lights, etc). Supposedly you don’t want a bright moon either
  • a nice diversity of nearby plant life
  • nothing blocking the light for some distance, to draw in moths that are further away

But even then it can be hit or miss!

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Tony, what is a good UV light that I can run for a couple of hours off of my big Mophie, an external battery pack?

I want an easy set-up.

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Do you have a link to this USB blacklight? This would be handy for a trip where a larger battery and my fragile DC bioquip battery are too combersome to take on a plane. A blacklight that has a protective plastic covering and USB connectivity, that ACTUALLY works, would be a nice option!

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Something like this is what I use: https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Blacklight-Fluorescent-Supplies-Halloween/dp/B08H8GYJV7

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Thanks. I just now ordered one. Do you use a regular light bulb as well as this, or not?

People might laugh at me for saying this, but in some ways my favorite is the Ailanthus Webworm Moth. It can be very common, and sometimes you see lots of them in one place at one time. The colors are superb, and it doesn’t really look like a moth in a lot of ways.

Also, anything that eats Ailanthus is a good thing in my book!

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Just saw out first clearwing this week and really liked it: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126530498)

We were recommended to rub really ripe bananas on a tree trunk and approach it with a small light after dark to photography what it attracts. Someone we know has success with this tactic, which also apparently attracts Southern Flying Squirrels.

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