National Moth Week 2013

It’s almost time.

moth week

July 20th to 28th, 2013
National Moth Week Events in the US

“Citizen scientists around the world will be setting up white sheets and lights in backyards, woods and fields July 20 through July 28 for the second annual National Moth Week, a global science project begun last year to encourage the public to observe and document one of nature’s most diverse creatures…

Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, National Moth Week
participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe.”

Moth week has many partner organizations that are repositories for data and photos about moths. These include Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA), and BugGuide, among many others. Last year, these partner organizations received more than 3,500 submissions as a result of National Moth Week Moth spottings! You can participate too–just take photos of the moths you see, and upload them to one of the partner organizations with location and other data.


You don’t have to identify your moths–they have experts that will help.  The photo you upload with your observations lets a specialist confirm ID. Then that information is used to compile species checklists, and distribution maps. And that data, over time, becomes an invaluable record of species distribution. Science!

What happens at a moth night? It’s a lot of fun!  Basically, you put up a sheet and a light with a bunch of your friends, and sit around and wait for moths.  So, yes, YOU can do science by sitting around on a beautiful summer night; alcoholic libations may be consumed (although whether or not it is an essential part of mothing varies, depending on who you talk to).

Tips on Mothing

World Moth Week Locations

Pollinator Week: Free books!


Want to know more about your native pollinators in North America? There are lots of resources!

A year or so ago I recommended this beautiful ebook as a FREE download:  Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees. It’s still available!  One of the authors of that publication is back this year with a new book, this one aimed at a slightly younger audience.  The new eBook by Beatriz Moisset: “Beginners Guide to Pollinators and other Flower Visitors” is available FREE during National Pollinator Week.  (You can also find it on Barnes and Noble and iTunes.)  This eBook is a quick guide to distinguishing types of insect visitors to flowers.

Xerces has quite a few amazing book-length resources, and the best of them is Attracting Native Pollinators.   (Not free, alas, but well worth the price, and supports this great non-profit.)  Conserving Bumblebees is also available as a FREE download, or as a print book.  I have mentioned before the wonderful online Xerces Pollinator Conservation Resource center, that lets you find FREE resources by region of North America about plants, creating nest sites, and other ways to promote your local species.  The US Forest Service also offers a FREE guide to Bumblebees of the Eastern States, as well as one for the Western States.

If you want to learn more about being a beekeeper, living in the country, and letting nature define the rhythyms of your life, you just can’t do better than Sue Hubbell’s “A Book of Bees.” Kirkus described it as a mix of “memoir, nature journal, and beekeeping manual.” Hubbell’s writing reminds me of another great country life writer, Anne Dillard. (If you haven’t read Dillard’s An American Childhood, read it now!)

If you want a more detailed discusson of pollination, but also a good read, I recommend The Forgotten Pollinators” by Buchmann and Nabhan. This winner of several science writing awards discusses the relationship between plants and the many different animals they depend on for reproduction. Unfortunately, many endangered species are rare plants depending on rare insects–not a recipe for a stable ecosystem.

What books have I missed? Please let me know in the comments!