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Moths at a bee discussion (9 photos)

For National Moth Week, Entomica brought up an art collective who used moths to talk about declining bee populations

Did you know that July 23-31 is ‘National Moth Week’?

To participate in the international event, Entomica invited the PlantBot Genetics art collective up from the United States.

The collective presented The Moth Project, an interactive multimedia presentation that on Friday utilized lights and special tents to attract moths as well as some, less desirable insects.

“Sault Ste. Marie definitely sets the record for the most flies we’ve ever captured,” said the collective’s Wendy DesChene, referring to the swarms of pesky insects that were all around the waterfront and seemed to take over the event from 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday.

The Moth Project is actually a way for the collective to talk about bee decline and colony collapse disorder – the dramatic decline in bee populations in North America and around the globe in recent years.

“We can’t work with bees in public because people get stung and die, so we started working with moths,” said Jeff Schmuki, DesChene’s life-partner and co-founder of the collective.

The group talked about how bees are important because they’re responsible for pollinating one third of food crops and their decline is a threat to the food supply.

The connection between bees and moths is that they are both pollinators.

“We want to underscore pollinator decline and moths are also a pollinator. What’s good for the moths are good for all pollinators, including the bee,” said Schmuki.

The art installation included projections of slowly morphing moths and a lot of one on one discussion while DesChene and Schmuki pointed out and discussed moths that were attracted to the lit up tents.

Other Moth Project events have happened across the United States and have included wheat paste moth wing mandalas, kaleidoscopic displays, moths projected onto large buildings, and more.

“It’s primarily a citizen science event. People are coming out, learning the names of moths, and then getting connected with what’s going on in their own back yard. That’s very important,” said DesChene.

The group said once people get familiar with the type of moths in the area, they will have a closer understanding with what’s happening in the environment around them.

It’s this closer connection with insects that will enable us to better to protect them and our food supply.

DesChene is a painting and drawing professor at Auburn University in Alabama while Schmuki is a sculpture and ceramics professor at Georgia Southern University.

The Moth Project will also be on from 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, July 30.

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Jeff Klassen

About the Author: Jeff Klassen

Jeff Klassen is a SooToday staff reporter who is always looking for an interesting story
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