Yesterday I went into the garden at dusk. I was greeted by a sight I’ve never seen before. Moths. In their droves. They were drawn by the bergamot, a herb I planted for the bees and myself. It’s a beautifully scented flower used to flavour Earl Grey tea. They don’t rest on the flowers like our daytime butterflies, but hover and feed on the wing. At least, those I could see were doing just that. I managed to get a photo using flash, but of course it’s not perfect, but does demonstrate their behavior nicely. You can actually see its proboscis delving into the flower for its pollen. I was overjoyed!
All our insects are suffering drops in numbers, including our moths. There is no difference between butterflies and moths, except their day/nighttime habits in this world, and they are pollinators of many flowers. They are another part of our eco-system suffering habitat and food plant loss and need our conservation efforts as much as a daytime butterfly or bee.
Once I’d spotted a species on the bergamot I started peering around to see of they were visiting any other flowers. Indeed they were. The buddlia was busy with them, as was the honeysuckle and dahlias. So when you feed the bees and the butterflies you are also keeping many moth species fed too. So many people have said to me that they love butterflies but hate moths. My reply is that to an entemologist there is no difference. They are all scaled, winged insects. Then I ask them if they’ve ever seen some of these beautiful creatures. I have a book full of stunning photos of moths. Burnets have gorgeous markings.There’s one on the chart for the Big Butterfly Count and I’ve posted here a photo of another of our moths, just to give you an idea of how stunning they can be. And they deserve our support. Why not make space for some nectar rich flowers?