Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chemical-free Moth Trap

Some species of moths and other night flying insects are major pests of assorted fruit and vegetable crops.  The coddling moth is one of those pests.  The most pestiferous species often have a narrow time window when they are flying about, breeding and laying eggs on their preferred hosts.  It would be really cool if there was a way to mess them up!


Moths use the moon as a navigational aid.  That is why one  sees a cloud of bugs flying around a security light on summer nights.  Those security lights are a significant source of light pollution and some people blame them for our low numbers of cecropia moths and some of the other showy species.  That is one reason we do not have a security light....I like moths as much as Kubota hates them.

The following set-up is quick to put up and quick to take down.  That means I can activated it during peak pest pressure and either shut it down or move it as my needs change.

The basic setup is a "cool" light shining on a round, white object suspended above a pool of water.  The disoriented moths will circle the bright "moon" and hit the water if they do not get whacked by a bat first.
I had to scoot things around to get them tuned in.  This is what it looked like after my fiddling and when it got darker.


Here is the panel of seven impartial judges


This could be made even simpler.  It could be a simple, white beach ball floating in the pool with an LED flashlight using rechargable batteries illuminating it.

I do not have a beach ball so I used a white, plastic grocery sack stuffed with crumpled up sacks.  And my flashlight does not have rechargable batteries so I went with a mini-compact fluorescent "spot light" that uses about 11 Watts of power.

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