NW Nature Digest: Moths

Welcome to this week’s Nature Digest! 

This week we are celebrating National Moth Week.  We are going to start with an overview of National Moth Week and then provide you with a few resources.  So let’s get to it!


National Moth Week

The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission in New Jersey started National Moth Week in 2012.  The idea for National Moth Week grew out of the East Brunswick Moth Nights organized by David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty.

In 2005, Moskowitz, who holds a PhD in Entomology from Rutgers University and a Masters degree in Environmental Policy Studies from the New Jersey Institute of Technology,  partnered with Liti Haramaty, who is founding member of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and holds a Master of Science degree in Ecology, to explore the seldom seen nightlife of the East Brunswick area.  Their “Moth Nights” soon attracted anywhere between 30-50 people who were looking for a unique evening activity.  These events quickly became the talk of the town.  By 2011, the local “Moth Nights” became a regular staple of local blogs, news stories, and were featured in David Wheeler’s Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the Garden State.  In the fall of 2011, Moskowitz and Haramaty decided it was time to expand this event and launched National Moth Week.  National Moth Week is now a global event that seeks  “to promote the understanding and enjoyment of moths and to raise awareness about biodiversity.”

In the 10 years since that first National Moth Week, the event has continued to grow.  In 2021, National Moth Week has event coordinators in 24 countries and 35 global partner organizations.  All these individuals have come together with a shared vision of sharing information about moth ecology, moth distribution, and the importance of biodiversity.

Confused Haploa Moth
Confused Haploa Moth

How To Get Involved

Mothing Events: 

There are 1000 mothing events registered at the National Moth Week Website.  Check out the Event Map to see if there is an event in your area.

Data collection

“National Moth Week offers an unparalleled opportunity to contribute meaningful scientific data about moths.” (NMW) The organizers of National Moth Week encourage citizen scientist to submit quality photographic documentation and any supporting data collected during National Moth Week to their program partners. Check out their Data Collection Page for more Information.

Go Social

National Moth Week has a Social Wall.  Use your Twitter account and #NationalMothWeek to join the conversation.

Screen Shot of NMW's Social Wall
Screen Shot of NMW’s Social Wall

Mothing at Home

Check out the NMW blog for information about setting up lights for evening observations and making your own moth bait.


Identifying Moths

Identifying moths can be tricky.  There are around 160,000 different moth species worldwide, so finding a local internet source or field guide would be best. Check out the National Moth Week’s Partner Page if you need help finding a resource for your location.

Some Web Resources

Bug Guide: An online community of naturalists who enjoy learning about and sharing our observations of insects, spiders, and other related creatures. They collect photographs of bugs from the United States and Canada for identification and research, and summarize the findings in guide pages for each order, family, genus, and species.

iNaturalist: A joint project between California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. When you upload a photo to iNaturalist it can provide suggestions on identification and then it also shares that photo with the online community to help verify your species.  This is very helpful since not every species you find looks exactly like the one in the field guide.

Further Reading

Much Ado About Mothing by James Lowan

“This book coaxes moths out from the darkness and into the daylight; Much Ado About Moth-ing reveals that moths are so much more attractive, approachable and astonishing than butterflies–with richer tales to share, from migratory feats through mastery of camouflage to missives about the state of our planet. This book seeks to persuade the skeptical, the fearful and the unaware of the unexpected beauty of these misjudged insects.” (Excerpt from publisher)

This book was recommended to me by fellow blogger Lesley at Moment-by-Moment.blog.  I have just about finished to audio version and I have really enjoyed the authors blend of personal storytelling and scientific information.

Golden Guide Field Guide to Butterflies and Moths Book

A full-color Golden Guide on 423 of the most common, or unusual butterflies and moths found in North America. Includes how to identify, attract, rear, and preserve them for study.  (Excerpt from publisher)

I remember reading Golden Guides as a kid and loving them.  I recently got this one on my Kindle reader and have enjoyed its easy to understand overview of moths and butterflies. It also has great pictures.

Large Lace-Border Moth
Large Lace-border Moth

Thanks for reading and I hope you are able to go out and participate in Moth Week. Feel free to share comments about your own mothing adventures below.


Submit your email below and receive updates from NaturalistWeekly.com in your inbox.

11 thoughts on “NW Nature Digest: Moths

Add yours

  1. Here in NI (UK), I record all butterflies seen in my garden (The Big Garden Butterfly Survey). It’s a daily record and I submit my records to the GBS usually once a week. 🙋‍♂️

    1. Hi Ashley, that is awesome! There seems to be a lot of work around butterfly and moth habitat and conservation in the UK. That is great that you have found a way to help the cause.

  2. Thanks for the links, Mark, especially the one for the Bug Guide. 😀
    That Large Lace-border Moth is so pretty.

  3. Thanks for this very interesting series on Moths! I am trying to get a photo on my tablet camera but they are difficult to photograph. The only moths I have spotted here, around the Hudson River, around Cornwall, are the entirely white ones.

    1. Hi Phil, thanks for the comment. I hear you about the common moths. I think the use of light traps is really helpful for some of the more elusive ones.

      1. Hi. I will look into it. My nature walks are by the Hudson River so I am not sure how that would work out. When I get my new camera, I think I will make out better since I will be able to take distance shots, closeups. A phone/tablet just isn’t the same.

      2. I hear you with that one! I only have a phone camera and it makes it hard to get some pictures. A good digital camera would be amazing.

Leave a Reply to Ashley Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: