The Contagious Passion of a Moth Farmer

By Kelina Toney

“I have the best job in the world, I am a moth farmer!” The guest speaker, Mr. Jachus Sundby started his presentation on moths with a burst of enthusiasm. As he described the process of catching, breeding, and raising giant silk moths, Hyalophora cecropia in particular, he continued to captivate his audience with his passion and excitement. The Kindergarten, first, and second graders sat in rapt attention as they listened to him explain how he stayed up all night with a bed sheet lit by a black light to catch a variety of moth species who all emerged at different times. And they giggled to hear how he slept all day to catch up. 

They appreciated videos of the captured female moths attracting male moths from miles away using their pheromones, and discovered that one can tell a male from a female by the size of their feathery antennae, as the males have much larger antennae to smell out the females. The life cycle, the silk cocoon, the diet, and the overwintering of the moths in black cherry trees was all discussed and absorbed with wide-eyed wonder. God’s perfect design for his creatures was clearly seen as Mr. Sundby, the moth farmer, reveled in the discovery of his audience. Students were bursting with questions, clearly captivated by the passion conveyed, and many have stated they no longer think of moths as the dull, boring counterpart to the butterfly. What a beautiful and creative God we serve! May we all be quick to share our zeal for his work and ready to learn more of his world, even areas we once overlooked. 

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