Insect Collecting – How to Use a Malaise Trap

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,031
    This video will show how to collect insects using a malaise trap.

    Gary Hevel: Hi, I am Gary Hevel; we are talking about collecting insects and developing a bug collection. Right now, we are looking at the Malaise trap, we want to talk about Malaise traps and black light or ultraviolet light traps. This Malaise trap is a boom to science. It is for the lazy entomologists if you wish but it collects the insects that are normally flying about in their normal flight. They will get into the bottom of this Malaise trap which is like a tent and then fly up by natural flight into the center of the trap and raise into the top of this jar and then tire out by flight and fall into the Malaise jar, the cyanide jar over the Malaise trap.

    So a person can run this with cyanide but cyanide is regulated chemical, so its very limited in availability. A person can do the same jar simply with a two or three inches of alcohol also, collecting insects. Its not common that butterflies or moths show up in Malaise traps and if they do they are pretty wasted in a way that they have scales on their wings, so they can not be used that well. But we will look shortly that the insects that had accumulated in this cyanide jar over the last two or three days.

    So this is a material here from the cyanide jar. We have put a Kleenex in, normally for them to crawl around on; just a bit of wind here today and bit of breeze but no great risk on that. So we will cover this. So this is as you can see, there is an accumulation of 433 insect specimens by my estimation. We want to get everything off the Kleenex because some of the ones that we might not get off would be the most valuable and interesting insects of the lot.

    So you can see that we have numbers of moths here, although they dont commonly show up in Malaise traps. There is atlas moths, the inchworm adult moth and others, some Ichneumon wasp here, large. Normally the large insects we temporarily place in a larger pillbox like this, as we are sorting and it depends on what a person is looking for. If they are very interested in horseflies for example, they have gotten one there. Lightening bug beetles, various kinds of flies including a hoverfly here and then a lot of small things, a lot of small flies. These are real pretty little spittlebug, a cercopid that we dont see commonly. But its a very nicely patterned insect, I first saw that species in somewhere Alabama many years ago.

    Here is something that is not commonly seen, it is a primitive scorpion fly and the males have a very strong backside to them, very clearly very interesting development there. So a number of little small flies that we would normally point first because they would dry out. Lot of parasitic wasp but all in all quite take for a couple of days in other Malaise trap. So there is a number of orders represented here and its real fodder for two or three hours work on sorting, pinning and taking care of things. Coming up next, we will show you how to use a black light trap.