Moths and a bumblebee

The numbers of moths in my trap are beginning to build up with the milder weather.


This is an Early Thorn – love the beady eye!

This is a Chestnut – lovely orangey colour and distinctive black marks


This is a Brindled Pug – pugs are not very easy to identify ….


This is a Clouded Drab – an unkind name perhaps


And finally there was a rather sleepy Tree Bumblebee in the trap as well – a recent colonist to Britain but one that has been very successful and spread far and wide.

Common Quaker and Small Quaker

The Common Quaker is the commonest moth in my trap at this time of year.


The adults are on the wing from March through to May and the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of broad-leaved tree leaves.


By contrast this is the Small Quaker – on the wing from late February to May – the larvae feed mainly on oak


Side by side – good size comparison – Small Quaker on the right!

A very tired and cold bumblebee

There was a very cold and tired buff-tailed bumblebee in the moth trap this morning.

buff-tailed-bumblebeeI brought her in doors and feed her a bit of sugary water whilst she warned up a bit and then I let her go

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There was also a rather smart Hebrew Character which don’t normally emerge until March

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Along with a number of Common Quaker moths

More early spring moths

A few more moths in the trap this morning.

early-moth
This is an Early Moth – the adult flies in January and February and the caterpillars feed on blackthorn and hawthorn in April and May – it over winters as a pupa.

chestnutThis is a Chestnut – the adults fly from September through to May and the caterpillars feed on oak, elms, blackthorn, hawthorn and birch.

dotted-border-1This is the Dotted Border (which I wrote about yesterday) – it is a different animal from yesterday as it is more darkly marked – in total there were four in the trap this morning.

First insects of the year

The weather has turned mild and for a few hours yesterday the sun shone. I therefore decided it was time to get the moth trap out again. It has been rested for the last couple of months. I gave it a little service which included that now old fashioned technique of re-wiring the old plug which had become loose.

dotted-border
Only one animal in the trap this morning – a Dotted Border. The adults are on the wing from February to April. This is a male, the female is flightless and has tiny stumpy wings. The caterpillars of the Dotted Border feed on a wide range of deciduous tree leaves. The caterpillars will hatch from their eggs in April and feed until June. The caterpillars will then pupate and over winter until emerging as adults next February. An early spring specialist!

western-conifer-seed-bug-2
The other animal I found yesterday in the garden was a Western Conifer Seed Bug – the first time I have ever seen one. Originally from Western North America it arrived in Italy a few years ago presumably as a result of ‘world trade’ and has now spread throughout the Continent. It first arrived in Britain in 2007. The larvae and adults feed on the flowers, cones and seeds of various conifers including Scots Pine. As of yet it hasn’t turned into a pest in the UK but it can be a problem in seed nurseries.. For more information on it see here.

 

25 December moths in the trap this morning!

This morning there were 25 December moths in my trap – I’ve never seen that many before! The milder weather has certainly brought the moths out.

december-moths
Four December moths on the egg box in the trap (this gives the moths somewhere to rest / hide)

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Close up of a December moth

winter-moth
A Winter moth (perhaps a Northern Winter moth – they are very similar)

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One of 6 Feathered Thorns

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A Dark Chestnut

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A Red-green Carpet

December and over 40 individual moths in the trap!