Running the traps

Today it was time to run the poop beetle traps and it occurred to me that many of you may have never run a poop beetle trap line, so today we are going to do it together! The first

Trapping running supplies - left to right: alcohol, empty wide mouth bottle, collecting  vial (1 per trap), bag o' bait, small strainer. NOT SHOWN: note book, camera, pencil, forceps (science tweezers).

Trapping running supplies – left to right: alcohol, empty wide mouth bottle, collecting vial (1 per trap- pill bottle), bag o’ bait, small strainer. NOT SHOWN: note book, camera, pencil, forceps (science tweezers), extra kill solution.

thing you need to do is gather all your toys. Then head out to your traps. If you are running a few traps, you should probably carry extra traps, spiders (bait holders), and bait cups – believe it or not there are those who will take your poo beetle traps!

Once you are at your traps, the fun of discovery begins! Remove the spider and bait   and peek inside and see what you caught! Sometimes the trap will be full of glorious dung beetles, sometimes you will only get a few. Regardless, it is always exciting to see what you have caught. There are many ways

Catch of the day!!

Catch of the day!!

to get the beetles out of the trap. A good way is to put the trap’s funnel into the wide mouth bottle and then pour the trap contents through the strainer. This separates the beetles from the kill solution and allows you to reuse the kill solution. You can then empty the strainer into a collecting vial with a few mls of alcohol and move on to the next trap! With the beetles safely marinating in alcohol you can work up your trap catches

The very intricate strainer-funnel-bottle setup for trap processing.

The very intricate strainer-funnel-bottle setup for trap processing.

the next day.

Be certain to take notes and label your vials! The data I record (in addition to the data that should accompany any insect collected) are: trap dates (in this case: 5-8 April 2013), trap number (in this case: 1 or 2), type of trap, and type of bait,

In a previous post I mentioned I was using a ‘less toxic’ kill solution. I think it worked very well. I reused the solution, so I should get a good idea of the solution life span. Trap two captured three slugs. Slugs do not like the kill solution (like any does?) and produced a huge amount of slug slime – a possible drawback? I do not like to think of slugs suffering in my pitfall. Occasionally, I trap spiders, frogs or mice in these traps and it feels bad to kill them for no reason. Maybe one of you will come up with a trap modification that makes them spider, frog and mouse proof. I do very much enjoy when the traps have cool insects as bycatch, so please allow for trapping of ground beetles when you make your modifications.

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One thought on “Running the traps

  1. Pingback: Some Tennessee Poop Beetles | biologistsoup

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