Looking closely at beautiful Maine moths… again

My obsession with moths is back. I developed a love for these fuzzy, winged insects last summer, and it has recently hit me again with full force. All it took was forgetting to turn off the porch light before heading to bed, and in the morning, I was delighted to discovered a wide variety of moths slumbering on the cedar shingled wall of my house.


Polyphemus moth

Now I intentionally leave the porch light on sometimes, just to see what moths and other alien-like insects I can attract to my home.

“Did you leave the porch light on last night?” my husband Derek asked me yesterday.

“Yes..” I said.

“When you do that, and I step outside to go to work in the morning, there are bugs everywhere,” he said.

(He goes to work much earlier in the morning than I do.)

“But I like to see the moths,” I explained.

He knows. In fact, sometimes he’ll wake me up early so I can photograph an especially cool moth that has been attracted by the porch light. But I imagine getting struck in the head by June bugs at 5 a.m. isn’t the most enjoyable way to leave the house. So I’ll stop leaving the porch light on during week days. Weekends are another story.

One-eyed sphinx  - Smerinthus Cerisyi

One-eyed sphinx – Smerinthus Cerisyi

I’m also considering other ways to attract moths. I could buy a special light, one that produces a spectrum of colors that will attract even more flying critters. They’re sold online. But another effective way of attracting moths is leaving out sugar bait for them. There are all sorts of recipes for this harmless bait online, one being as simple as a mixture of brown sugar, overripe bananas, beer and molasses.

Why go through all the trouble just to see a few moths?

Well — have you ever seen a moth up close? I mean REALLY look at it? They’re absolutely adorable, with fuzzy bodies, feather-like antennae and huge eyes. And the patterns on their wings are absolutely amazing. Many are made to blend in with the environment, so their wings look like a type of bark or leaf. While others have flashier wings, with bright colors hidden in their folds.

Look how cute I am.. One-eyed sphinx.

Look at how cute I am.. One-eyed sphinx.

Recently I’ve been arriving to work eager to show my co-workers my latest moth photograph. Unfortunately, not everyone is as interested in bugs as I am. So, instead of boring my desk mates with my moth stories, I joined a Facebook group “Spider and Insect Enthusiast,” which has more than 6,000 members from throughout the world, and I posted a few of my moth photos on there. To my delight, I got a lot of positive response, particularly to a photograph I took of two luna moths I found resting beside each other on my house.

"Friends" Luna moths

“Friends” Luna moths

While I realize not everyone who reads this blog is interested in insects, I still decided to post here for that small group who find moths to be as interesting (and cute) as I do. And feel free to send me your moth photos at asarnacki@bangordailynews.com.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.