Safely Catch, Move and Release Butteflies and Moths.

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Introduction: Safely Catch, Move and Release Butteflies and Moths.

We recently had a conservatory built. It's great, but it seems to attract extra occupants.

We've had flies, wasps, bees, crane flies, damsel flies, frogs and, obviously, butterflies and moths.

Most of these can be easily sorted - flies get swatted, bees are easily steered out an open window, and even the frog was reasonably easy to catch and release - but butterflies refuse to cooperate, fluttering around the glass ceiling or getting into the corners of the roof where we cannot reach them, and then dying from the heat.

Once they're dead, we can retrieve them with the tube on our Dyson, and that inspired a simple solution.

The tube of our Dyson is also the handle, with a plastic grid over the tube at the top*. You're supposed to take the handle off and reverse it for normal "tube mode", but it also works the wrong way round, and that inspired the solution.

I drape a piece of fabric over the grid to spread the air flow (usually a dish towel, but I've also used a sock), switch on, and then prod at the butterfly. The air-flow quickly and gently traps the butterfly's wings against the cloth. Hold the end of the tube out the door or window, cut the power and the butterfly flies safely away.


This method will work well for butterflies and moths, but not for strong fliers like bees and dragonflies - they get caught by the air-flow, but are strong enough to walk across the cloth until they are out of the air-flow and then fly free.  I haven't tried on pests. For those, I leave off the cloth and open the grid...


*According to the salesman, the grid is there to stop the Dyson sucking out the eyeballs of small children. How could we not buy it after that??

(Thanks to Conker-X for taking the photos)



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    So far this year, I haven't needed to (wasp numbers have nose-dived in the UK this year).

    Usually, though, I plonk a glass over them and slide a piece of paper under the glass to trap them until I can let them go outside.

    I'll definitely refer to this if I have a bug problem. :P

    Fortunately, at least at the moment, I don't have a bug problem.

    genius, I've had butterflies coming in to the house and just flying at the patio doors, and you try to move them over to the door and they just fly back in front the glass, this is so much easier.

    Very clever, Kiteman!

    I agree. :) This is a super smart and humane way to safely get them moved. :) Excellent idea!!! I must admit my son and I had a huge bee in my room one night as they have beehives outside the windows or on the roof somewhere. I used my vacuum to get it. And my son seemed traumatized because he loves all creatures and so it was pretty late at night and I had to go outside with the whole vacuum to see if it was still alive and let it go. Luckily it was! :)