Argyresthia pruniella belongs to the family Argyresthiidae which, according to wikipedia, is a family known as the ‘Shiny Head-Standing Moths’. This on account of how they stand with their head bowed and rear raised.
A small moth with a 10-13mm wingspan(1). This is one that can be identified in the garden with a good photograph and reference material. It is single brooded and flies June-August (2).
It’s place in the Garden (Visitor/Lured)
The larva/caterpillars feed on cherries, often within the actual fruit (2). We are a little unsure regarding the abundance of the food plant, although clearly Cherry Trees are a favourite of many garden/gardeners.
All stages of a moths development are subject to a wide range of predators. Including small mammals, birds and amphibians. Other invertebrates are also a major threat, including dragonflies, beetles, lacewing and wasps. As such whilst many view certain caterpillars as a pest, especially those that feed within fruit such as Argyresthia pruniella, these small packets of protein help support a wide array of other beneficial and interesting species. Moths are of course interesting in their own right and are very welcome in the Garden.
How to encourage the species to your garden
Current distribution maps place this species across much of the UK (2), so if you live in an area with Argyresthia pruniella already present, there is a fair chance that by introducing this food plant to your own garden the moth will arrive of its own accord.
Alternatively, you can lure moths to you by leaving a secure window open and a light on during the warmer months, or better still invest in a moth trap as Argyresthia pruniella is attracted to light. Just remember to lock up as necessary afterwards.
- UK Moths: Species Account Page. https://www.ukmoths.org.uk/species/argyresthia-bonnetella/ – Accessed online 16th December 2022
- Sterling, P & Parsons, M (2012): Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides: Field Guide to the Micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland. Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd