Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good

Last year my interest was captured when I saw a friend's photo on Facebook of some hornet clearwing moths at a pheromone lure in Suffolk. I'm not big into moths but 'twitched' a few hawkmoths back in the day, including a 260 mile round trip to the Norfolk coast for a Death's Head.

Fast forward to 2014 and I visited my local nature reserve, Fowlmere, with a lure purchased from Anglian Lepidopteran Supplies. It cost £7.50 and is species-specific; you can buy the 'classic 6' as a set for £35 and this covers most clearwing species. I might try for the others at some point, but meanwhile if anyone wants to do a swap...

The method is simple: Visit some poplars on a warm day with light breeze between mid May and mid June. Hang the lure and wait. And it was that simple. I attracted hornet clearwings at 3 out of the 4 spots I tried, and it only takes 5 - 10 minutes to bring them in. I had 3 or 4 females and one (much smaller) male. Enjoy the pics!


The Bad

There were some big ol' evil-looking mossies at the site, despite it being the middle of the day. They plagued me here and forced me to beat an early retreat but not before leaving me with a few fiercely itchy bites, one of which ballooned as I had an uncharacteristic allergic reaction to it next morning. I usually wear insect repellant if there are mosquitos about as I hate them with a vegeance, but putting on chemical insect repellant while standing by a chemical insect attractant - well it's not the brightest idea, is it?

The Ugly

Well the photo says it all. Here's me with my prize catch, just before release. On the other hand the insect itself, one of the larger females, is really quite beautiful.

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