Caterpillar and Moth Hunt

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar

Join Eric Olson as he hunts for caterpillars in the Dedham Town Forest, beginning at 5:30 PM on Friday July 13, 2012 and continuing until after dusk.

Anyone joining can plan to rendezvous at the corner of Fay Road and Washington Street in Dedham. Eric will be there about 5:15 and will hang out until 5:35 or so, then walk into Town Forest. Participants must wear long everything, no shorts, no t-shirt, no sandals. Mosquitoes should be expected, and everyone must have a good headlamp or flashlight and expect to stay with the group for the duration, it is not ideal to turn back early as the “trail” is not really very clearly marked and it can get quite dim in the forest quite fast.

This method of caterpillar hunting is rather meticulous, and this is a great opportunity for anyone who would like to learn this search method, or anyone who is just interested in bugs and plants.

Eric will photograph and possibly collect caterpillars, if necessary, for identification. As the group moves into the forest, Eric will bait for moths, by dabbing a goopy mixture of sugar, stale beer, overripe bananas, and molasses on some trees. This is a 100 plus year old method for mothing, it’s tried and true. The goop gets dabbed onto tree trunks, a hand sized patch. The goop washes off the trees at the first good rain, and meanwhile ants remove it too.

Repeating the same path on the way out of the forest, we will look for moths at the bait and photograph any that have showed up. The moth guides these days are amazing, most adults can be ID’ed from photographs.

Contact Info:

Eric Olson, PhD
Brandeis Ecologist