The Bogong Moth Prepares to Migrate
Do you remember seeing the mass of Bogong Moths invade your neighbourhood? Perhaps you have seen them in the house around your pantry or clothes cupboard?
If you live along their migratory path, Bogong Moths will visit your backyard on their way to the alpine region where they will spend summer.
As they don’t feed during their summer dormancy they need to eat lots of food on their journey. They love the nectar of your backyard flowers such as grevilleas and will feed on them at dusk.
As the weather warms, your moths will continue their journey to the high country of the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales and the Victorian Alps.
During the day they will hide in the dark crevices in your backyard. Their wing pattern provides camouflage when they are resting.
At their destination in the Australian Alps another unique Aussie animal eagerly awaits their arrival.
The Bogong Moths are the main food source for the endangered Mountain Pygmy-possum.
This month, look out for Bogong moths. As the weather warms up in south-east Australia, these well-known brown moths are getting ready to make a big journey.
Bogong moths migrate several hundred kilometres each year. During spring, they fly from the lowland grassy areas up to the mountainous caves in the Snowy Mountains.
You better get out and see them now as they won't be around come summer. As the temperature heats up, Bogong moths sleep in caves, each overlapping one another - just like tiles on a roof!
In autumn Bogong moths fly back from the Snowy Mountains to the plains to feed on flower nectar to build up their energy again. They need fat reserves of up to 60 percent of their total bodyweight in order to survive their long distance travel.
Have a look for Bogong moths around houses and buildings, or when you go for a walk near a forest or woodland.
The best time to spot a few Bogong moths is at night. Look for them flocking to street lights, outdoor lights or even trying to get into well lit houses.
During the day, Bogong moths hide away in dark crevices. Their dark brown to blackish wings mean they are well camouflaged, unless there is great number of them all hiding in one spot!
Bogong moths live all over non-tropical Australia, but only appear to migrate in the south-east.
If you're in Canberra in late September or early November, look out for Bogong moths around major public buildings. These guys love to go sightseeing in the ACT at this time!
The Bogong moth may look unassuming, but it is a very important creature in the south-east of Australia. Many species, like Mountain Pygmy-possums, rely on Bogong moth migrations as a source of food.
DID YOU KNOW?
Before white settlement in Australia, Indigenous people feasted on adult Bogong moths in the mountains. These moths were rich in fat and a reliable source of food, as the moths spent the summer in the relative cool of the mountains before mating. Bogong moths were usually killed or dazed by heat and smoke from torches, then roasted and eaten whole. This cultural use is no longer practised today.
Plant locally native plants such as grevilleas in your garden to attract butterflies, small birds, and of course, the Bogong moth. Ask at your local plant nursery to find out what nectar giving native plants are local to your area.