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    Rights: University of Waikato
    Published 28 June 2018 Referencing Hub media

    Dr Barbara Anderson from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Lily from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti explain why the Ahi Pepe MothNet project uses a Heath trap for the collection of moth data.



    Moths will come to almost any light, and you can go out with a torch and a white sheet and you can look at them. But what we would really encourage people to do is to use the same trap with the same light. It doesn’t matter where we put the trap or who puts the trap or when they put it, the trap ensures that the attraction is the same. What’s different is whatever is there with the moths. 

    And if we all use the same type of trap, then all the data that anyone collects anywhere can all be brought together. So that gives us our standardised, quantitative data, and we can use that to work out what’s happening with our moths.

    And the Heath moth trap isn’t the brightest light, but it’s the light that’s the safest for everyone. It’s portable, it has a 12-volt battery, which means that you don’t have to have it in your backyard. You don’t have to have it next to mains electricity, and that’s a huge plus for us. Also, the trap itself folds down into a very small space, and that’s very important for us as well.

    The light – it’s bluey white-ish – and it’s not that bright for us humans, but for the moths, they have different eyes to us, so it’s much brighter to them and it attracts them. We put little egg cartons in the net, and the egg cartons are like the bark of a tree. So they think it’s the bark of a tree, and they go in there, “Oh, I think I’ll be safe and hide in here. I might stay here for the night.” And then we’ll go the next day and there’ll be moths in there.

    Dr Barbara Anderson
    Dr Robert Hoare
    The tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti
    Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research
    Additional footage of Heath moth trap at night courtesy of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research