Insect Week: Moths at Mount Stuart!

22 June 2018

National Insect Week runs from 18th – 24th June, run by the Royal Entomological Society the week encourages people of all ages to learn about insects, their habitats and behaviours.

Mount Stuart is home to many Creepy Crawlies from bugs in the garden, to pests in the Collection and many more inside the house if you know where to look! We’ve got some amazing activities for you to enjoy and discover more about bugs throughout the week but we’ll also be exploring our gardens and collections for insects of all shapes and sizes!

Buff ermine, recorded at the Kitchen Garden

We took part in a moth survey a few years ago as part of National Moth Night. Buteshire Natural History Society and Bute Museum organised the event and we asked Glyn Collis from the Society to write up a bit of information on the survey. We’ve also got some pictures of the stunning moths that were recorded!

Small Magpie, recorded at Stable Cottage

Saturday June 10th 2016 saw the most ambitious moth survey ever attempted on Bute.  Organised and led by Ron Forrester, Glyn Collis and Dawn Collis of the Buteshire Natural History Society and Bute Museum.  This was part of National Moth Night during which similar events are carried out throughout the UK, co-ordinated jointly by Atropos magazine and by Butterfly Conservation, the organisation that promotes the conservation of moths and butterflies in Britain and collates information on the health of their populations.

Clouded Border, recorded at Shalunt Quarry

Overnight, six moth traps were placed at different sites within Mount Stuart policies.  A number of different designs of trap were employed but each one had an arrangement whereby a bright light was positioned above a funnel system such that moths attracted by the light enter the collecting part of the trap and find it difficult to escape.  In the morning, the moths are identified and released.

Poplar Hawkmoth, recorded at East Lodge

In total, 96 moths of 34 species were caught and identified, a relatively small count. On a warmer and more humid night the numbers could well have been significantly higher. All of these species had previously been recorded on Bute. Two traps positioned in the garden area just east of the Visitor Centre had the highest number of species, probably because they were in a low-lying and very sheltered area.

Elephant Hawkmoth, recorded at East Lodge

For each year’s National Moth Night, target species are chosen for special attention. This year the targets were Hawkmoths and we caught two species – Poplar hawkmoth and Elephant hawkmoth, both of which are regularly seen on Bute.  We caught one of each in the vicinity of East Lodge.  Other hawkmoths previously recorded on Bute are Death’s head hawkmoth, Hummingbird hawkmoth and Narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth.