Early Autumn moths that fly in good wildlife gardens

Although nocturnal and rarely encountered during daylight, the following is a selection of important moths that inhabit gardens with native plants at this time of the year. These pollinate our flowers, control plant growth, feed our birds, bats, hedgehogs, and frogs, and are a vital part of the ecosystem. All come to light, so there is a chance to see these species, and while many of these roost in trees during the day, some will be found resting on walls and tree trunks. Allow nettles, native grasses, flowers, trees and flowering ivy to grow in your gardens to look after these moths. Their flight period and breeding plants are stated in the captions.

Angle Shades moth. This attractive species can be seen in all months of the year but mainly in May-June and August-October. It breeds on a wide range of plants such as Common Nettle, Broad-leaved Dock, bramble, Common Hazel, birches and oak. Easily encouraged in gardens managed for nature.
The Lunar Underwing flies from late August to mid-October. Its larvae feed on Yorkshire Fog and other grasses, and this moth is also likely in biodiversity gardens.
The Setaceous Hebrew Character is double-brooded. It flies in May-July and August-October when it is more numerous. It needs Common Nettle, and will also breed on willowherbs. Again, it is happy to breed in natural gardens.
The Burnished Brass can fly in two generations, as happens in the Irish midlands.The adult moth flies in June-July and August-September and possibly later. Common Nettle will satisfy its breeding needs, as will Common Marjoram.
The Frosted Orange flies in just one generation, August-September, and is less abundant than the other species mentioned in this post. The larvae use thistles, ragworts, Burdocks, Hemp Agrimony, among others. Rarer in gardens than the other species.
Single-brooded, the Beaded Chestnut inhabits gardens, broad-leaved woodland, scrub, hedgerows, grassland and heathland. A classic autumn species occurring on the wing from September to November, often in large numbers.
The well-named Garden Carpet flies in two or three generations annually. These may overlap from April-October. The larvae eat Garlic Mustard, Hairy Bitter-cress, garden Nasturtium and brassicas.

Photos J. Harding

 

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