Basic Equipment For Collecting Insects

1. Aerial net—A net bag made of translucent netting so one can see what's inside; it can be used as a beating net if needed. The net is used to grab insects off plants or to cover them on the ground. Since insects tend to crawl or fly upward, hold the net so they move toward its closed end once they are inside.

2. Beating (or sweeping) net—A heavy cloth bag, perhaps with small netted area at the bottom; it is used to sweep "like a broom" through vegetation many times. To use, strongly wave the net to concentrate insects in bottom of the net before placing net with insects into a killing jar until movement ceases. Then pick out what is desired and allow the rest to revive and go free.

3. Aquatic net—A heavy-duty metal hoop that can be D-shaped or round supports the netting. The former type is best for stream bottoms. The mesh and heavy cloth skirt have to be strong enough to take a beating. To use, hold the net against the bottom of the stream riffle and disturb the substrate upstream to allow insects to flow into net, or "work" the net among plants or debris to catch pond insects.

4. Malaise trap—A tent-like structure made of netting and designed to direct insects that encounter it to climb upward and follow the seams to a collecting container into which they fall. Container can be designed for live capture or killing in alcohol or by means of a dry poison such as cyanide powder.

5. Lights and light traps—A battery-powered light bulb such as a 15-W fluorescent "black light" or self-ballasted mercury vapor lamp can be hung from a tree limb or other support about one-half meter in front of a white sheet strung between two trees in the forest. The collector then picks the desired insects off the sheet. Various trap designs are available from supply houses, in which lights attract the insects that hit one of four vanes (or baffles) surrounding the bulb and above a funnel, into which the insects fall when they hit a vane. Ethyl acetate in tins with "wicks" of cloth provide a killing agent; crumpled paper also can be used in the bucket below for live capture.

6. Pitfall traps—Tin cans, jars, or pails can be placed in holes dug in the ground and filled with earth to the outside rims. One may bait with dead animal matter or other attractants. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) is often used as a

TABLE I Collection and Preservation of Insect Specimens for Insect Orders

Taxon

Habitat

Equipment to use

Collection method

Preparation

Protura, Diplura,

Leaf litter, rotten logs and

Berlese funnel, aspirator,

Place in funnel for several

70% EtOH, mount on

and Collembola

stumps, birds' nests, other

wet brush

days, jar of alcohol

microslides

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