Louche lepidoptera

Oh yes, people, I am after some of that sweet, sweet Horrible Histories coin.  I think I’ve mastered the title: two words, alliteration, the second word is a group noun and the preceding adjective hints at a little excitement of which you teacher would not approve.  Obviously, the HH folks have the history market sewn up, so I’m going for the world of Natural History.

‘Why now?’ you may well ask, well let me explain.

Yesterday, I was trying to ignore the news on 6Music as further evidence was offered that those in power were – armed only with a hand-cart and their almost limitless reserves of stupidity – dragging the planet, at all the velocity they could muster, toward a village just south of Stjørdalshalsen.  My attempted reverie was suddenly interrupted by news so unbelievable that I felt sure I must have mis-heard.  Maybe it was time for the ear trumpet to join the soon-to-be-delivered reading glasses.  However, research today suggests that my hearing is fine (or at least this news story did not bring its efficacy into question) and I really did hear what I thought I heard.  I’ve cancelled the order for matching tartan rug and slippers.

It would seem that moths – and particularly the family of hawk moths – are attracted by alcohol and tobacco and the folk at Butterly Conservation are suggesting we use this weakness to capture (and later release) migratory moths as part of a census which is currently underway.   I think their idea was for the public to lure moths to their domestic stretch of greensward (or decking as the case may be) using some of their unused duty-free.  I’d suggest that the better garden-based venue would be the beer garden of your local hostelry.  This could be the draw that the pub trade so desperately needs in these difficult times: come for the beer, stay for the moths!  Now, where did I leave that pooter?

This does place a rather new spin on Oasis’ hit Cigarettes and Alcohol: certainly, I’d never realised the Gallagher brothers were such keen naturalists.  Might it be that moths are not confusing bright lights with the moon but rather they have mistaken the illumination for a pub or off-licence and are looking for a fresh fix.  We all know to protect any open jam against a vespine onslaught, but now a moment’s inattention of an evening could find a moth tucking in to your pint!  (And, a moth has rather more effective camouflage than a wasp: you have been warned).

Anyway, I can’t just sit here typing at you: I’m off out for a little moth-watching.  Mine’s a pint of Best!


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