Thursday, 29 August 2013

Yo, ho, ho!

It's a long time since I've been rum-and-treacling for moths but last night we had a go, in company with my sister, brother-in-law and their characterful rug-like dogs, Kipper and Badger. The experience reminds me to be thankful every day for the invention of the light trap. Treacling or 'sugaring' as it is also known is seldom the exciting experience described by an entomological vicar in this extract from the Victorian Girl's Own Paper.

'Slugs of the most portentous dimensions descend from their hiding places in the trees and absorb the treacle as if they were so many hungry leeches fastening on a plump and thin-skinned patient. Toads sit in a circle round the trunk of the tree, waiting to snap up any moth that falls. The bats soon learn the value of a treacled tree, swooping by it, whipping up the pre-occupied moths as they pass by.'

None of this drama happened to us, or if it did, it was past our bedtime. We attracted no moths even though one of our sites, below, was almost in the middle of a buddleia, and this morning there was only a curious wasp. Sadly, I recall similar disappointments as a boy and never over-encourage enthusiasm for treacling among children who have yet to become proud owners of a light trap. But we will try again tonight.

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