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Insects at Night

I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania and was wondering if I was to go out at night to some wooded areas if I should expect to find any certain insects not found during the day.

I would assume I might find moths and maybe certain spiders? I believe wolf spiders hunt at night.

But does do this? Doesn't seem at all practical, let alone safe in this day and age (you never know) to be wandering around in any wooded areas...

Also, I would imagine I'd need to bring a flash light, but I can just see myself scouring the brush with this flashlight and not finding much of anything let alone attracting strange attention to myself most likely.

Sugar mothing
How far are you from Bucks county?
Peace Valley Nature Center has a sugar mothing outing on July 29, 8:30 pm. You may be interested in joining the group; also, once you get there you can start making contacts to get permission to visit the park at night as Troy suggested. Their website:

I'm in Delaware County so not
I'm in Delaware County so not that far away.

A "sugar mothing" outing? Hmm I will have to check that out.

What's that place like by the way when it comes to insect fauna?

I do it
When I take my mercury vapor lamp afield, I usually explore the general area while I wait on things to show up.

I recommend getting one of those small head lamps. That's critical for locating things because the light source needs to be close to your eyes to get a good reflection. Hold it in your hand and you won't get them.

Check out tree trunks. I often find stuff visible that hides in the cracks during the day. Some spiders only spin their webs at night.

I find that I'm the only one out generally, but I'm definitely on alert. Try securing permission to visit private preserves after dark. I have little luck with most county/state/federal areas, but most private preserves don't mind as long as they know you'll be there. Doesn't hurt to ask. Explaining what your intentions are can be difficult though. "You wanna do what!?"

Good luck,

Night hike tips.
Many Cerambycidae and most fungus beetles are nocturnal, and not all come to lights. What I would do is go over a given area by day, and make note (or mark with a fluorescent ribbon) what I wanted to come back to and see at night. Freshly-killed or fallen trees would be on my list, as well as large patches of fungi.

night hikes
Went on many night hikes in Costa Rica. Lots of fascinating things out and about and they don't seem to frighten too easily. But we were always in a group. Not too many night hikes here in Chicago since the preserves are closed at dark, but we have managed a few night frog hikes! We did a night hike once in northern Tennessee and it was fascinating. The spiders have great eye shine, but the salamanders are astounding! To peek under a rock and see the huge eyes of a large Plethedon looking back is a great experience. We've done several night hikes in the Arizona desert. Have heard that scorpions fluoresce under a black light, but weren't able to find any to see. Did come across a Sonoran shovelnose snake and almost had a heart attack thinking it was a coral snake! And night paddles in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario were certainly a big hit. Sometimes you got out just as the mayflies were hatching and you could catch even walleyes on a flyrod then. Walleye fillets for breakfast. That's livin'. So we say go. Take a friend. Take a couple of friends. Who knows what you see. Report back here and tell us your stories.

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