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Make your own moth trap

Find out who’s flying around in your garden at night

  • Difficulty - Easy
  • Wildlife Connections Guide

If you want to see which moths are visiting your garden at night you could set up a simple moth trap.

Moths are one of the most diverse and interesting animals around, coming all sorts of shapes and colours. There are over 2,500 species of moth in the UK and encouraging them into your garden will help to encourage lots of other animals too like bats.

To encourage more moths into your garden plant a good variety of flowers. A wild flower seed mix is great for attracting moths, teamed with plants such as Tobacco plants, evening primrose which are night flowering, Jasmines, honeysuckles & sweet rocket that are nectar rich and lavender and buddleias. It’s great to leave an untidy patch of long grasses, thistles and knapweeds.

These plants are not only great for moths but for lots of other insects too, such as bees. Some Moths like certain types of plant, such as the very rare Barberry carpet moth, that depend on the Barberry carpet plant. This plant is a scarce hedgerow plant. During the nineteenth century it was found to be a host of wheat rust, a fungal disease of wheat. However modern wheat varieties have resistance to this so it is no longer a threat. If you planted the Barberry plant it would help and encourage the moths and help to up their number in your local area.

What you'll need...

  • A moth identification book or online guide will help you figure out what type of moths you see, e.g. Collins Moth guide.
  • A large white sheet (an old bed sheet is ideal), which could be hung over the washing line.
  • A bright light (this could be a bright torch or attached to the mains) to put behind the sheet and attract the moths.
  • A camera (optional – to take photos of the moths).

How long will it take?

It will probably take you around 1-2 hours.

Making your own moth trap

On a dry night, set up your sheet & light in your garden when it’s gone dark. When the moths start to land take photos and use your book to identify which moths are visiting your garden.

Looking at the shape, colour and pattern of the moths wings will help you figure out who’s who. You could build up your identification skills and record and report your sightings on our form here: www.chesterzoo.org/record

. This will help us to monitor populations in your area.

What to do next

Now that you've started to identify which moths are visiting your garden it's really important to us that you let us know using this form (you can upload a photo too).

Record your action

By keeping track of where amazing people like you are creating wildlife friendly spaces we can see the impact we're having.

And don't forget to keep recording the wildlife you see in your local area here: www.chesterzoo.org/record