On May 1st, I set up my MV light on sheet. Within a week, I went out in the early morning hours to be greeted by a male luna. An image is attached. Then, the weather has turned cooler, unusually cool for this time of year in fact, and other than a couple of warmer nights, most nights have been in the low 50's/ upper 40's F. The one warm night in the 70's three nights ago failed to attract lunas, but a giant water bug of all things and the first one I've ever seen. Luckily, I recognized it from pictures and knew not to touch it. I would really like to attract more lunas as well as a few other of the larger moths. A few luna questions:
1) Will these moths fly with the temps I mention above?
2) Can I expect more lunas from now until ?
3) Any other large moths to look for if I run the light over the summer?
4) Since I read that the lunas mate well after midnight and that is when they are attracted to the lights, is there any point running the light all night or just from midnight until dawn?
Please keep in mind that i am looking for my area specific information as I realize appearances/ behaviors vary in different parts of the country.
I see you found a 1st brood (spring) luna moth. Can tell by the amount of extra purple on the hind wing margins. Latter broods lack this. In your area there should be at least 2 (if not 3) broods of luna by mid-August. You have the right tree species in your area to support the species so you will see others. How many is hard to say. The ambient outdoor temp.should be closer I believe to the upper 60's at least if you expect to see any... Also, to have hatching occur there needs to be a certain amount of humidity in the air (created by a previous days decent rain) in combination with the warmer temperatures; than what you have been experiencing lately.
The right conditions will promote hatchings so always have your light on a night after a good rain. Keep in mind, that local light sources may draw them away from yours depending on the proximity of the moth to the local light source. Luna's or any of the larger silk moths are always a hit or miss deal. A good night may see 3 or 4 of something but, otherwise probably less. Saturniid moths due to their size are also readily attacked by bats and the moths themselves have a short life span as adults (of as little as a week to 10 days or so).
The Cecropia's, Polyphemus, and Io's will also be hatching out very soon (late May thru late June) so keep a sharp eye. Remember, as adults they are not around for very long and then they are gone until next year. All of these large moths are a delight to see wherever and whenever found. Stay up late until 2 or 3 am. and you will see them "arrive" at your light. Waiting until morning will have poorer results as most will have already come and gone in their haste to find mates or a suitable place to hide for the day.
Interesting, but looks like I wasn't patient enough and posted too soon! The attached one is from two hours ago (11:30 PM EST) and with a temperature of 55 F. It was actually on the ground in the grass as can be seen in the image. I did read last year that they will land anywhere within 20 feet or so of the light, so I always check the ground and areas behind the sheet illuminated but more distant. Now I'm hopeful!