Moth Trap


In June 2015 I decided to start using a moth trap to see what night flying moths were frequenting our meadow and garden at night.  The high cost of buying a trap (between £165 and £350), together with their relatively simple design, made me decide to build my own.  There then followed much research on the Internet about the best type to build and this, together with suggestions and advice from the Yahoo UK Moths Forum and my own ideas, I decided to build a Skinner moth trap. 


I will publish details of how I made the trap soon, but in the meantime here is a photograph of it.  It is rather difficult to photograph so as to show the plastic sheets.  I have used two conventional Skinner sloping sheets resting on two vertical short sheets each side of the opening (to help prevent captured moths escaping), and four vertical sheets (baffles) above the sloping sheets (two in each direction) to help guide flying moths into the trap.  The bulb is a mercury vapour (MV) 125W used with ballast control gear and I have added a three-pin socket and on/off switch (left side of the trap in the photograph).


I put the trap trap out for the first time during the night of 24/25 June.  I placed it on a bench seat on the edge of our one acre wild-flower meadow (photographs on right) and switched it on about 11pm.  When I checked it at 6.15am the following morning I found about 40 moths of 25 different species - not bad for a first attempt I thought.


I also put the trap out on the nights of 25, 26, 28 and 29 June in different places on our 2½ acres and each night, particularly 28 and 29 when I put the trap close to hedges and trees, caught more different species.  I am encouraged by this early success with the trap, especially as it has only cost me £45 to build!


I have now started trying to identify the moths, but anticipate this is going to be difficult to start with as my experience of moth identification has so far been restricted to day flying moths.

gallery/moth trap 21

Whilst there are only 59 species of butterflies in Britain, there are about 2500 species of moths in Great Britain and Ireland. including about 1600 ‘micro’ moths.  The majority of these fly at night but there are about 100 species of day flying moths.  A day flying moth is one that usually flies in the daytime and doesn’t include night flying moths that may fly in the daytime because they have been disturbed, often for lengthy periods after being disturbed.  Although there is no definite listing of day flying moths, they constitute about 132 species of the 800 species of ‘macro’ moths.  Many of the ‘micro’ moths are day and night flyers and, as their name suggests, are usually very small and difficult to identify.

I need your help please to identify these moths that I have seen - thanks.

gallery/agriphila tristella  150701

Agriphila Tristella (micro)

gallery/bordered straw 150607

Bordered Straw

gallery/broad-blotch drill (micro) 150614

Broad-blotch Drill (micro)

gallery/brown house moth 140608
gallery/common carpet 150510

Common Carpet


gallery/cinnabar 120630
gallery/common nettle-tap 140530

Common Nettle-tap

gallery/large yellow underwing 1 130626

Large Yellow Underwing

gallery/mother shipton 120524

Mother Shipton

gallery/sandy carpet 2 150507

Sandy Carpet

gallery/shaded broad bar 2 130721

Shaded Broad Bar

gallery/silver y 130820

Silver Y

gallery/six spot burnet 150728

Six Spot Burnet

gallery/six spot burnet mating 130720

Six Spot Burnets Mating

gallery/small china-mark 150529

Small China

gallery/yellow-face bell 150528

Yellow-face Bell

gallery/yarrow plumes - mating 150625
gallery/white plume 150629

White Plume

Yarrow Plumes Mating

gallery/yellow shell 150622

Yellow Shell

These are day flying moths seen in our meadow that I haven’t been able to identify yet (click on image to enlarge it).  If you know what they are, please tell me by sending an email to <> or use the contact form on the home page (top left menu) - thanks.

Plume (9 July 2015)

gallery/clouded border 150624

Clouded Border*

Below are some of the day flying moths seen in our wild-flower meadow since 2012 (click on image to enlarge it).

Day Flying Moths

Night Flying Moths

gallery/burnet companion 150612

Burnet Companion

* Night flying moth disturbed during the daytime.

gallery/grass rivulet 150618

Grass Rivulet

Brown House Moth

gallery/moth 150709
gallery/moth 1 150710

Moth 1 (10 July 2015)

gallery/moth 150710

Moth 2 (10 July 2015)

gallery/moth 150815 greenhouse

Moth 10 (15 August 2015)

gallery/moth 150812

Moth 4 (12 August 2015)

gallery/moth 150729
gallery/moth 150727

Moth 8 (27 July 2015)

gallery/moth 150719

Moth 5 (19 July 2015)

gallery/moth 150718

Moth 3 (18 July 2015)

gallery/moth 1 150821

Moth 11 (21 August 2015)

gallery/moth 1 150719

Moth 6 (19 July 2015)

gallery/moth 1 150727

Moth 7 (27 July 2015)

Moth 9 (29 July 2015)

gallery/angle shades 150925

Angle Shades*