David Chesmore’s Home Page


Moths, Entomology and Electronics


1907 Bordered Beauty

Bordered Beauty (Epione repandaria)        ©D. Chesmore

About Me

Entomology and Moth Trapping (New Events in 2017 - updated 10 March)


Latest News

Slides for Tagging insects talk in April 2010

Contact me at: dchesmore@googlemail.com  or david.chesmore@york.ac.uk

Latest News

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Interview on woodworm detection on 22 June 2017 at 8:25am.  I was interviewed for the BBC to talk about my acoustic detection work involving insects.
The interview can be heard here:Woodworm on the BBC

Insect Festival 2017 will be held in the Hospitium (Yorkshire Museum Gardens, York) on Sunday 2 July.  It is a celebration of insects and is orgnaised by the Royal Entomological Society.  I will be there representing the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union and will be exhibiting moths, photographs and other insects.

Information on National Insect Week (2016)

"A Moth Anthology", 20 February 2015 - an evening of sound and image drawing inspiration from the nocturnal world of moths (Lawrence Sterne Trust)

Insect Festival 2015 (5 July, The Hospitium, Yorkshrie Museum Gardens)

Listening to Stag Beetle Larvae, "Great British Wildlife Revival", BBC1 17:35, 1 September 2013

"Urban Jungle", BBC1 Yorkshire 7pm, 1 August 2013

World Listening Day, BBC Radio York 7am, 9 June 2013

BBC1 Countryfile 26 May 2013

BBC FOUR Alien Nation Series.  Planet Ant: Inside the Colony, 23 March 2013

Older Radio/TV Appearances


A Moth Anthology - 20 February 2015

This was an evening of sound and vision organised by the Lawrence Sterne Trust exploring moths via music (including Japanese Koto playing), prose and poems (haiku). It was held iin the Rymer Auditorium at York University and attracted more than 100 people.  My role was to introduce 10 Yorkshire moths and say something about them.  More information can be found at: http://www.shandyhallmoths.blogspot.co.uk

Insect Festival 2015

The Insect Festival is a biennial event organised by the Royal Entomological Society at the Hospitium in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens in York. It is a 1 day event and in 2015 more than 1,700 people attended.  I organised the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union stand which had live moths, caterpillars and photographs of (mainly) moths.  The caterpillars are always popular with children.  It was a very busy day, from steeing up at 8am to closing at 4pm. The photograph below ia me manning the stand.

RES IS fecsitval 2015
Copyright Royal Entomological Society 2015

BBC1 Great British Wildlife Revival

This was the Urban programme in a series of 6 programmes and involve Dr George McGavin and others looking at varioous urban settings and wildlife.  My part inthe programme was to listen to and record the soudns of beetle larvae in decaying tree stumps and play the sounds to George, including deliberate "stridulation" sounds made by stag beetle larvae.  I used vibration sensors originally designed for detecting the larvae of quarantine beetles such as the Asian Longhorn Beetle.

BBC1 Urban Jungle

This is a programme about urban wildlife in Yorkshire, from Hull to Shipley and York. It is presented by Mike Dilger and Keeley Donovan. My part in the programme is trapping moths at York Cemetery which is an amazing haven for wildlife and definitely worth a visit (http://yorkcemetery.org.uk/). I ran a 125W Robinson trap overnight and the filming was in the evening showing me putting up the trap and a light above a sheet. We then ran the light for a while. The camera crew came back the following morning and filmed the moths. Unfortunately, the temeprature had dropped to around 10°C so the number of moths was not huge.

World Listening Day

I was interviewed live on BBC Radio York to talk about soundscapes.  The interview was held in a layby on the northern York ring road (A19) so that the listners could get a feel for traffic noise, and it was very noisy.

BBC1 Countryfile

Perhaps the most fleeting and cryptic appearance on a television programme!  Countryfile visited Normandy Barracks in Leconfield to look at conservation on the army vehicle training site.  I went to carry out some moth trapping but the weather was not very good and we only caught 2 moths (Angle Shades and Purple Thorn).  At the same time, the SeaKing helicopter was being flown with thermal imaging cameras to look for deer and we (myeslf and Alan Bakewell) were filmed whilst at the light from around 30m above ground.

So, for a total of 4 seconds of the programme, I was shown walking along the track and towards the moth light as shown in the 2 pictures below!

Me on path

me on path

Me approaching the moth light

moth light

BBC FOUR Alien Nation Series.  Planet Ant: Inside the Colony, 23 March 2013

The BBC Four programme on Ants looked at leaf cutter ants in detail and actually created a real colony in Glasgow.  Part of the programme involved acoustics of ants stridulating, either for normal communications or for alarm calls.  My vibration sensing equipment was used to record the sounds.

Older `Radio/TV Appearances

Yorkshire TV Calendar, Hasholme boat monitoring of archaeologists’ health. unknown date.
BBC Radio Humberside, November 1997
BBC Radio 4 Material World, 23/1/2003. Identifying bats from echolocation.
BBC Radio York, 21/7/2004. Orange Footman found in Yorkshire after 164 years.
BBC 2 Gardeners World Live, 2006. Moth trapping from Harlow Carr Gardens, Harrogate.
BBC 1 Nature of Britain, 2008 (Urban nature – local Yorkshire section), moth trapping York Cemetery.
BBC Radio 4 Nature “Insect Sounds”, 6/10/2009
BBC Radio York, breakfast programme 18/7/2013 discussing World Listening Day.

About Me

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Electronics Department at the University of York specialising in the application of electronics to biology, especially entomology.  Most of my research is on automated identification of species using bioacoustics or image processing.  I am also an entomologist specialising in Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets and bush-crickets) and Symphyta (sawflies) and am the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union's Recorder for Orthoptera and Symphyta (also Secretary to the Entomological Section).  I am a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics and a Chartered Environmentalist.

I have recently been appointed one of three Vice Presidents of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers to seve for 3 years (2016-2019).

Many of my entomological activities are on-site surveys, running public moth trapping events and stands at various events such as the Insect Festival.  My activities for 2017 can be found here.

Moth Trapping and Events in 2017


21 July
Moth and bat night Eastrington Ponds LNR near Howden ERYC, 01482 395320 (booking required)*
25 May Moth trapping York Cemetery from 8:30pm 01904 610578 (booking required)
2 July
Insect festival
Hospitium, Yorkhire Museum Gardens
Royal Entomoligcal Society
8 Sept
Moth trapping Oakhill LNR, Goole (SE728231) ERYC, 01482 395320 (booking required)*
30 June
Moths at Shandy Hall, part of National Gardens Scheme Shandy Hall, Coxwold 01347 868465
13 August Butterfly Walk York Cemetery (2pm) 01904 610578 (booking required)

* see the East Riding Countryside events brochure


Recent and current research projects include:

Identification of Leaf-mining Insects using Image Processing. We are currently concentrating on developing algortihms for extracting information about leaf mine shape and characteristics from the background (leaf).  We are targetting the mines of Cameraria ohridella (Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner) which is a pest of Horse Chestnut trees.
Species Identification Dataloggers. This work, funded by the Natural History Musuem in London, developed high specification dataloggers capable of detecting the ultrasoinic calls of Speckled Bush-crickets (Leptophyes punctatissima) as wells as GPS location, temperature, humidity and light intensity.
Noise Monitoring and Characterisation in Cities (part of the CAPACITIE project). A new PhD that will look at noise monitoring using mobile phones and wearable devices. The difference between this project and others is that we will be identifying noise types rather than just measuring noise levels.

More information on my research can be found at: http://www.elec.york.ac.uk/research/audio/bioApps.html


Slides for RES Insect Tagging Meeting in April 2010:  The Technology of Tagging and Tracking Insects