It has been brought to my attention that I have given air time here to our favorite wings of the daytime, birds and butterflies, but have neglected to mention that there are some much beloved winged night things here too.
“Mama, people should really care about moths and beetles too…. they’re neater than the daytime stuff, but I don’t think too many people know it.”
And so I have promised to let you know that there are night things worth your attention too….
… night things that are getting a GREAT deal of attention here.
Luke and I attended a workshop last summer on attracting night creatures and came away with two great tips to pass along.
First, get yourself a black light and a white sheet. Hang the light horizontally above the sheet. The result is a sort of beacon to night critters. It isn’t so much the light itself that’s the magic, it’s the fact that it turns the whole sheet into one big glowing light.
If it is warm enough, you’ll attract a host of specimens for study.
Once they are on the sheet, most of these creatures become a little mesmerized. They don’t stir too easily. So, it’s easy to slip a jar over them and then slide a piece of paper underneath. If you then put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes, they will slow way down and let you look at and photograph them without so much as a wiggle.
Another tip… if you’ve got a banana that has turned nice and black, the squishier the better, put it out on a tray nearby. It helps to raise it a little on a table or chair, or even better, get one of those shepherds hooks meant for bird feeders, with the accompanying hanging platform. Some moths and beetles really dig this sweet treat. (Lots of butterflies do too, but we’re not talking about them right now, are we? 🙂
At the moment, even in Texas, we’re not coming up with too many moths and beetles yet. It’s still too cold. That hasn’t slowed the investigative process though… We’ve been keeping careful records of what we’ve found at the sheet each night, as well as the air and soil temperatures (we use a meat thermometer to test the soil temp). We’re hoping to see, through the summer, how the number of critters correlates to the number of degrees.
We have learned something very interesting so far. Even though none of us have had a bite since early fall, there ARE still mosquitos around. And this, of course, has lead to the dreaming up of many more questions, hypotheses and potential experiments.
Inquiring minds want to know… even after the sun goes down.