Earlier this year I bought one of the new pheromone attractants for Emperor moths, and as is usual with my attempts at using moth pheromones I have mostly failed to go out at the right time of year to make use of it. But I had a go on Sunday, not really expecting to see anything since it is getting late in the year for Emperors to be on the wing.
I hung the pheromone on the end of the clothes-line and watched it for half-an-hour over lunch - nothing happened! But an hour or two later my wife called me in to the garden as she'd seen a large lepidopteran that she thought might be an Emperor, and sure enough it was a male buzzing round a corner of the garden, some distance from the pheromone itself, but surely attracted here by it.
In my excitement I netted the moth and took it to the clothes-line, where I immediately let it out of the net so that it could sit on the pheromone and allow me to watch it closely and get photographic proof that the lure had worked. But of course the moth had other ideas, and dived straight out of the net and away into the adjacent field. I did see it one more time when it flew back over the roof of the house, but it clearly wasn't going to risk approaching the pheromone again. So no photos, and only the briefest glimpse of the moth itself, but still a fantastic thing to see.
I also have some of the clearwing moth pheromones, and again haven't yet had much success with them. If anyone has any tips on using them I'd be pleased to hear them: what time of day has worked best for you? did you stand and watch them as soon as you put them out, or did you leave them and return to them later? if moths were attracted, did they stay at the lure for long or did they fly away?
In lieu of a photo of this year's Emperor, here is one from 2011 showing my son with one of the moths he reared from caterpillars kindly provided by Dave Wilton. The female moths that emerged did successfully attract wild males into our garden, but I've never seen any sign of them round here other than via reared female moths and now with the pheromone.
Martin Harvey (Bucks)