EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - National Moth Week (NMW), which was started in East Brunswick in 2012, is marking its 10th year July 17 through 25 with a call to young people around the world to learn about and observe moths in their local habitats.

Each year since 2012, National Moth Week has shone a light on often unheralded moths, calling attention to their beauty, extraordinary diversity and essential role in the natural world as pollinators and a food source for other creatures.

As a worldwide citizen science project, NMW encourages “moth-ers” of all ages and abilities to turn on a light wherever they are and observe and document what they see through photography and data collection. Finding day-flying moths and moth caterpillars can be done in daylight.

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Individuals and organizations are invited to register private and public mothing and educational events for free on the NMW website. Due to the pandemic, participants are advised to follow health guidelines and regulations for gatherings in their area. Participants receive a beautiful certificate designed by NMW team member and graphic artist Belen Mena.

This year, the NMW team is encouraging kids and teens to discover and learn about moths in their own backyards and communities, or even while away on vacation. Kid-friendly content and tips for beginners, from book lists to light setups and “moth bait” recipes are featured on the NMW website.

“Observing moths is as easy as turning on a porch light and seeing what’s flying,” said Jacob Gorneau, who became the youngest member of the NMW team when he was 15 and is now a graduate student in entomology.

“Because they are so diverse, moths are a great starter insect for kids, who will never tire of the amazing shapes, colors, and sizes that exist. An interest in moths instills a greater appreciation for the natural world and why we need to preserve it. Wherever you may be with your child, even checking out brightly lit places at night or early morning where lights were on all night, you are sure to see some moths. Lastly, get outside. Some of my most memorable experiences finding moths were the ones I found serendipitously, without searching. You may soon be known as the local moth person and people will start bringing moths to you! ”

NMW participants are invited to contribute their photos and data to NMW partner websites, as well as the NMW Flickr group, which now has over 100,000 moth photos from around the world.

 “Documenting the numbers and locations where moth species are flying can help scientists determine what impacts, if any, climate change, pollution and other threats are having on native populations,” said Liti Haramaty, who co-founded NMW with David Moskowitz, Ph.D.

Since 2012, NMW has inspired thousands of public and private moth-watching and educational events in over 80 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Sites have included National Parks and Monuments, museums and local recreation areas, private backyards and front porches – wherever there’s a light and a place for them to land.

National Moth Week is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick (N.J.) Environmental Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation. It is now one of the most widespread citizen science projects in the world. It is coordinated by volunteers on the NMW team and country coordinators around the world. It is held annually for nine days during the last full week and two weekends of July.

For more information about National Moth Week, visit nationalmothweek.org, or write to info@nationalmothweek.org. Also, find National Moth Week on Facebook, Twitter (@moth_week) and Instagram (mothweek). Hashtags:  #Nationalmothweek #mothweek



Why study moths?

  • Part of the Lepidoptera order of insects, moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
  • Moths are important pollinators for crops and flowers, and serve as a food source for birds, bats and other animals.
  • Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to as many as 500,000 moth species.
  • Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult’s hand.
  • Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen – others fly like butterflies during the day.
  • Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.