Quick – when you hear the word “moth”, what do you think of? If you answered “clothes-eating menace”, you’re not alone… but I’m here to tell you that moths have gotten a bad rap. In fact, most moths are truly gorgeous creatures that couldn’t be less interested in your clothing, and next week (July 23 – 29, 2012) has been set aside to celebrate them. It’s time for the first annual National Moth Week!
The logo alone should get you excited for this event – that amazing moth plastered across our country is a male Io Moth (Automeris io). And if you’re still not convinced that he’s not the least interested in chomping on your winter sweaters, here’s a piece of news for you: Io Moths, like all other members of the Silk Moth (Saturnidae) family, don’t have mouth parts as adults. They take in all their nutrients (from leaves, not clothes) as caterpillars, and fly for only a few days as moths – just long enough to mate.
So, just how does one celebrate Moth Week? There are plenty of options:
- Events are planned across the country to get you out at night and finding the beautiful moths in your area. Visit the National Moth Week website by clicking here to find one near you.
- No events planned in your area? No problem! You can bring the moths to you with a few simple tricks. The easiest way is to hang a white sheet and shine a bright light on it; the moths will be drawn in and often provide great photo opportunities, as demonstrated by the shot to the right, taken by Howard Bryne in Arizona a few years ago. You can also try sugaring and wine-roping – click here for more information.
- Plant a moon garden. Moon gardens are designed to be enjoyed at night, when the majority of moths are flying. They include night-blooming plants, along with white and light-colored blooms to catch and reflect the moonlight, and they’re a great place to look for moths. Learn more about creating a Moon Garden here.
- You can celebrate moths during the day too: there are many species of diurnal (day-flying) moths, including the spectacular Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe).
- Use this week to learn more about moths in general. Do you know the difference between moths and butterflies? Learn the answers here. Most people know moths are involved in the production of silk somehow, but do you know the details? Find out here. And what about those pesky clothes-eating moths? Here’s what you need to know.
Help us celebrate National Moth Week by sharing your favorite moth or mothing experience in the comments below. And if you’re hosting a public event, be sure to tell us about it!