Sunday, 17 January 2016

Garden Stats

Contrary to expectations, 2015 ended up being an excellent year for our village garden on the clay in Aylesbury Vale.  Now that the records are up-to-date, here are some silly statistics for the year:

Garden lepidoptera species count in 2015:  653 (324 macro-moths, 309 micro-moths, 20 butterflies)
Garden lepidoptera total (2005 to 2015):  904 (411 macro-moths, 463 micro-moths, 30 butterflies)
Lepidoptera new to the garden in 2015:  41 (13 macro-moths, 28 micro-moths, 0 butterflies)

Highest macro totals in 2015:  Large Yellow Underwing (2,014)
                                                 Lunar Underwing (1,644)
                                                 Heart and Dart (1,515)
Highest micro totals in 2015:   Agriphila tristella (1,046)
                                                 Chrysoteuchia culmella (837)
                                                 Acentria ephemerella (811)
Night with largest catch:  16th July 2015 (988 moths)
Night with highest species count:  3rd July 2015 (152 species)

Total garden moth count for 2015:  33,803 individuals
Number of nights trapped:  295 (205 single actinic only, 42 single MV only, 48 actinic & MV combined)

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


  1. My experience with Cameraria ohridella is that it doesn't particularly comes to light much. I remember running the garden trap about 2 years ago with the Runner beans next to the trap heaving with the moth, which had come over from nearby Horse Chestnut trees. Recorded none in the trap at all that night. Most we see out and about moth trapping are singletons usually crawling across the outer parts of the Robinsons.

  2. I would have thought that any one with a Cameraria ohridella (Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner) tree (horse Chestnut) near a regularly trapped site would have C. ohridella as their top moth. Provided they can be bothered to count them all and having distinguished them from all the Phyllonorycters!

  3. We've got a row of mature Horse Chestnut trees lining one side of the road down from our house and they're always heavily infested with C. ohridella. At their peak they're also numerous on our hedges but, as Peter says, very few come to light.

  4. C.ohridella only appeared at the trap on four nights in 2015 and the highest count was 13 (22nd August). From memory the majority were either on the outside of the trap or found sitting on the skirting surrounding the roof of the gazebo under which it was run - that's actually where most of my Phyllonorycters are potted up from too. Our nearest horse chestnut is 100-150 metres away from the garden. When I trapped regularly in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor back in 2009 one of the lights was placed at the base of a huge infested tree. On a visit at the adult moth's peak (13th August) only 17 made it to the trap out of many hundreds seen sitting around on the leaves.

  5. Very impressive numbers, Dave. I am guessing that you had both the actinic and MV traps running on the night of your largest catch, as 988 moths in just 1 trap would be quite a pile of moths.
    I see in the comments that you also have a gazebo - perhaps this is the secret of your success! What I take heart from is that 10 years on you are still finding new moths in the garden - that is what makes trapping moths so interesting.

  6. The gazebo (a robust but collapsible one with metal legs and a tent-like roof) goes up in late-spring and generally stays up until autumn. When there's the threat of rain it provides a very useful shelter for the much larger but non-weatherproof "Really Useful Box" I use in summer instead of the Robinson base. The rectangular shape of the box means that I can use large egg trays without having to cut them up, something that isn't possible in the Robinson (although I see that ALS do now offer a larger Robinson base). The flat top to my box means that any rain simply pools there then floods inside, so protection from rain is essential. Having the gazebo blocking the light from immediately above the trap must be a slight disadvantage but I still seem to get plenty of moths when it rains!

    Yes, as it happens the 988 total was split between two traps that night but getting 1,000+ individuals to a single trap is not unheard of. The night of 27th June 2011 springs to mind when my box arrangement with the twin-30wt actinic brought in well over 2,000 moths. I managed to count 1,824 individuals of 96 species (more than 1,200 of them Heart & Dart) but clouds of moths flew off every time I brought out an egg tray...all part of the fun of moth-trapping!


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