What's going on: I am launching an all out full time campaign to significantly increase the number of moth records in the South Carolina Moth Database.
Why: There are ten counties in South Carolina with fewer than 10 moth records! This is out of the 2016 species that have been recorded in the state, and over 24,000 potential records they could have when recording each species by the month it was observed. There are an additional ten counties with fewer than 50 moth records.
Why this matters: Moths can be an excellent indicator of environmental conditions and changes. Without more complete records now, there will be nothing to compare to five, ten. or twenty or more years from now.
How: I am personally going to go out multiple times to each of the twenty counties in South Carolina with the lowest number of moth records, and substantially build up the moth records for those counties. I am also going to raise awareness about moths and this project, and encourage others to get involved in providing their own moth records that could be added to the SC state moth database.
This is for the birds! Yes, in fact it is. You see, many of our favorite song birds, including most if not all of our warblers feed on moth caterpillars. A reduction in moths would result in a reduction in song birds. Establishing a more complete baseline of data on the moths of South Carolina now, will help us track changes later, and help us be better prepared to address what needs to be done to keep our planet strong and healthy. Living organisms on our planet face many threats, including pollution, pesticides, herbicides, invasive plants, and now global warming. All of these threats impact moth species diversity. If we don't know much about what we have now, how will we be aware later that we even have a problem . . . before it is too late.
Attracting Moths - On my front porch there are two lights. In one fixture I put a clear incandescent bulb. In the other I have a UV bulb. If the wall behind and below the lights is white, that may be all you need. Otherwise, hang a white piece of cloth or some other white surface, because that is where most of the moths will land. I say most, because some will only come close, but land on other surfaces near the light(s). In my back yard I have a cable fastened between a tree and my back deck. Fasten a white sheet to this cable, and let the white sheet hang to the ground. Place a light on a stand, chair, or bucket turned upside down, and put it about a foot away from the sheet. Moths will come and land on the sheet . . to be photographed.
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