Moth Trap Setup

June 16, 2015

So I bought the light trap a few weeks ago from It's a fairly simple thing consisting of a bucket, funnel, and a fluorescent light that sits between clear polycarbonate vanes. I was well aware that such a thing could be improvised, but I was lacking in activation energy and wanted to simply buy a trouble-free working toy. The light is a 12W ballasted fluorescent bulb, and I use appropriate eye protection when working near it. The bucket contains some cardboard egg cartons, to give moths a place to settle.

It most certainly brings in moths in my back yard, though not at enormous volumes. The first week I took it to Pine Haven, I set it up overnight at Linda's campsite, in her gazebo, figuring that I hadn't weather-proofed anything, and in any case, I needed the power. I used my white cloth table-cloth style, which I think was an error - the moths seem to really prefer a vertical perch. It brought in a cloud of moths, but since my kids were asleep at a campsite all the way down the hill, sitting near it to catch moths wasn't something I had a lot of time to do, and only a few moths were inside in the morning.

On the more recent trip, I requested a "meadow" site with a utilities hookup (an extra few dollars) and set it up as shown in the campsite, with a clothesline and white sheet. The results were incredible - a huge cloud of moths arrived and I could stand next to it and feel them hit my legs. However, it does seem that many moths come to visit for a few minutes or hours, and depart again, and it's obvious that there's a fair bit of traffic out of the trap as well as in. I caught (in little condiment cups) about a dozen moths, and put them in my cooler for morning; this proved a good move - some but not all were duplicated by moths that sat on the sheet or in the trap.

The part of my workflow in which I wait for daylight to take pictures may want attention. I should perhaps obtain enough lighting to take decent pictures at night. I do plan to get a battery to run it off of, so I am not tied to line power, but these recent trips were about proof of concept.

My children are tolerantly amused by my hobby. They seem more tolerant of me fussing over moths at the campsite while they eat breakfast, than they are of having me go on excursions to the bathrooms to hunt for moths there.