Moths’ popularity flies high: Sales of traps to catch, identify and release the insects rocket – and Britain now has 20,000 ‘mothing’ experts
- Some 10,000 Britons have become ‘mothing experts’ since Covid pandemic hit
- Moths help pollinate crops and wild plants and provide food for birds and bats
- People became ‘closer to nature’ during Covid and the successive lockdowns
For most of us, moths are merely the annoying pests that ruin our cashmere cardies in the wardrobe.
But that view appears to be changing, as Britain now has 20,000 dedicated ‘mothing’ experts – twice as many as when Covid hit.
Incredibly, the new total is even more than during mothing’s heyday in the Victorian era.
Sales of the moth traps enthusiasts use to catch, identify and then release the insects have rocketed over the past year.
Dr Zoe Randle, from the Butterfly Conservation charity, which is launching the UK’s biggest moth conservation project in East Kent, said: ‘Moths are seen as boring, drab, jumper-munching pests, and we want to change that.
‘There are 2,500 different moths in Britain, and only two species eat clothes.’
She also said the belief that moths were strictly nocturnal and were less beautiful than butterflies was unfair, adding: ‘There are 145 day-flying moths in this country compared to 59 butterflies – and many moths are just as beautiful, striking and colourful as butterflies.
Around 10,000 Britons have taken up ‘mothing’ after ‘getting closer to nature’ during the coronavirus crisis
During Covid, people got closer to nature and we believe there is now an opportunity for a massive renaissance for the moth.’
Nature writer James Lowen, who has joined the crusade, said: ‘For 20 years I thought they were small, brown, dull, eerie creatures of the night that destroyed my suits. But in 2012, I was converted when I saw a poplar hawk-moth.
‘It was very large, silvery and angular and I was immediately smitten.’
Mr Lowen, who has just published Much Ado About Mothing, a book about a 248-day trek he made across Britain searching for rare species, added: ‘Moths are benign and glorious.
‘They help pollinate our crops and wild plants and provide food for birds and bats. We should all be planting honeysuckle, jasmine, fuchsias and privet, which look good and help moths.’