Bees Get All the Love. Won’t Someone Think of the Moths?
Look, we get it—bees are fantastic. As more people keep piling into cities over the coming decades, we’ll need more of these insects to pollinate urban green spaces, which provide fresh produce and the biomass that can cool a metropolis. But while deploying as many flowering species as possible to attract bees, cities risk sidelining an underappreciated champion of pollination: the humble moth.
If moths haven’t been top of mind recently, it’s not your fault. Moths are inherently more difficult to study than bees because they are nocturnal. This means scientists have to work at night, using light traps to attract the things. “The whole reason why they’re overlooked is because bees, you see them in the day, but moths are obviously out at night,” says Emilie Ellis, a pollinator ecologist at the University of Sheffield. “I genuinely think that I can count six papers that have looked at moths versus bees, or moths versus anything.”
“And they’ve got a really bad reputation of eating your clothes and carpet,” Ellis adds. “In reality, they’re super…