If you see a snapped twig move on its own, you’ve probably spotted a little master of disguise.
The buff-tip moth is easy to miss even if you’re the most eagle-eyed of insect lovers. And when photos and videos of this moth surfaced on social media last summer, people had a hard time believing any bug could be so perfectly disguised.
During the day, the 2-inch moth sits still on trees or the ground, camouflaging herself to look like a silver birch twig.
Those who live in Europe, especially in wooded areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, have probably seen more of these common moths than they realize. The moths are most active between May and July — but they only fly at night, usually after midnight, to avoid being spotted by predators.
The moth gets her name from her buff-colored head and spot on her wings, which resembles the snapped end of a branch.
If you can’t find the moth, as caterpillars they couldn’t look more different.
The hairy caterpillars covered in black and yellow stripes can’t help but stand out and usually gather in groups to snack on deciduous trees and shrubs. Luckily, just like the beautiful moths they grow into, these little caterpillars rarely do real harm to any plants.
These gentle moths make excellent visitors to any garden, and attract birds and bats.
To welcome buff-tip moths and butterflies into your garden The Wildlife Trust recommends planting nectar-rich borders for them to feed on and climbing ivy and shrubs to protect the insects during winter. Take these easy steps, and you might just spot a few more “twigs” in your yard next year.