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A drop in moths flying indoors at night?

FireFire LondonPosts: 14,093
I have seen reports of dramatic drops in the number of moths flying in though open windows at night, towards the light. Chris Packham says he got hardly coming in, even though he was living in the middle of the New Forest. There has been a vast drop in global and UK insect numbers overall.

I particulary remember staying with family in forest in the Loire valley in France in the 1970s and the air being thick with moths at night when the windows were open - it was the normal and expected thing - set among fields, woods and streams. These days half my north London garden seems to decant into my kitchen within seconds if I leave the back door open - mosquitoes, crane flies, spiders, mosquitoes and things, not so much moths. I do get some moths flying in at night on the second floor - where I keep the windows open all the time through summer.

Is your impression that you are seeing many less moths at night than decades ago?

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  • B3B3 Posts: 21,501
    Haven't looked at links yet but street lighting might have something to do with it 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,537
    I'm no expert but it might be partly to do with the type of lighting we use now. I can leave my outside light on (LED bulb) and hardly any moths come to it but more are attracted to the CFL bulbs we use in the adjacent room, although still not many. I see moths circling the LED street lights outside while none are coming into the house. The moth trap will pull down loads of moths though using just a 20w CFL with a higher UV output though.
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • floraliesfloralies Haute-Garonne SW FrancePosts: 1,801
    Definitely a lack of moths indoors down here in S Haute-Garonne. We used to have huge amounts during the summer but maybe just one or two now indoors. The lights haven't changed but farming has, which I am pretty sure has a lot to do with it.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,093
    It heartening to see the vast array that @Wild Edges is catching in the night traps. I'm definitely doing better with moths than butterflies, of which I have virtually none at all.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,537
    floralies said:
    The lights haven't changed but farming has, which I am pretty sure has a lot to do with it.
    It's not just farming but land-management in general. Most of the moths I'm seeing here have specific food plants for the caterpillars. There are thousands of species of moth so they've adapted to their own ecological niches to avoid competition. In general though the plants they eat are all 'weeds'. Even without the trap I've noticed an increase in moths since leaving a patch of nettles and letting bits of the grass go long. We're lucky around here to have an abundance of native plants but even then insect numbers do seem lower than you'd expect.
    The problem locally here I think is more to do with climate change but I also suspect that bird feeding is not helping. We're boosting local bird populations in gardens to unnatural levels by feeding the birds and providing nest boxes but without addressing the need to enhance the overall ecology of the area at the same time. We know birds are very helpful at pest control in the garden but when the numbers are so high they will have an impact on caterpillars too.

    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • AsarumAsarum East AngliaPosts: 567
    I think it's down to the catastrophic decline in all insects, probably due to the cocktail of insecticides sprayed.  I remember in the 50s and sixties the car windscreen being plastered with dead insects in the summer, we don't get that now.
    East Anglia
  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 664
    Asarum said:
      I remember in the 50s and sixties the car windscreen being plastered with dead insects in the summer, we don't get that now.
    So we motorists were unintentionally slaying millions....
    But maybe better car design, aerodynamics or whatever could have something to do with there being less carnage on the windscreens? I hope that's the case.
  • AsarumAsarum East AngliaPosts: 567
    edited August 2021
    :D:D Sorry!, I didn't word that well enough.  I really meant that it was indicative of the amount of insects about in the past and how they have disappeared now.
    East Anglia
  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 664
    There's nothing wrong with your wording, no need to apologise.
    Nonetheless, we slaughtered millions of insects just by driving....and I wouldn't think car designers had insects on their agenda, probably fuel economy which was a good thing in itself of course.

    I do get that maybe if we all still drove the same models of vehicle, the carnage would be less, for the reason you meant i.e. fewer insects on the wing.


  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,537
    In a motorway service station carpark a few years ago I watched a wagtail picking bugs out of the grills of the cars and lorries. Probably not the healthiest diet. 
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
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