Category Archives: Insect Traps

How to Build Insect Traps

Insect traps are a great way to collect insects for your insect collection.  In fact, here are many types of insect traps and this article explains how to build tree different types.

  1. Separator insect trap
  2. Pit fall bait trap
  3. Light trap
Separator insect traps
Separator insect traps for tiny insects
Separator traps can be a good way to collect tint forest insect hidden under leaves and forest litter.

 A separator insect trap is a trap used to collect insects from forest debris. They are easy to make using common household items.

  • Draw string
  • Glass Jar
  • Trash Bag
  • Ethyl Alcohol 70%

Fill the jar 1/3 full with the 70% ethyl alcohol solution. Cut an opening at the bottom of a trash bag and fit it around the mouth of the jar. secure the jar to the mouth with a draw string. Fill the trash bag with your forest debris sample. Tie a draw string around the top of the trash bag and suspend the trash bag in the air by tying the other end of the string to a branch. Slowly the insects will work their way to the jar at the bottom and die in the alcohol.

Pit fall Bait Insect Trap
Pit fall insect traps for collecting ground crawling insects
Pit fall traps for collecting ground crawling insects

The pit fall bait trap can be easy to make and yield good results. Fill a plastic pail or coffee can with 2 inches of a 50% mixture of molasses and water. Bury the pail so that the top edge is even with the ground. Place boards on the ground perpendicular to the buried pail. The boards should act as a guide, steering wandering insects into the pail. Check the pail daily for insects that have fallen into the trap.

Decaying animal remains such as birds, lizards or snakes can also be used as bait. When using animal remains, cover the top of the pail with wire to keep out larger animals.

Other types of bait that might be used are decaying fruit, beef or hog live, chicken heads and dung.

Light InsectTraps
Light insect traps are a good way to collect nocturnal insects attracted to lights
Light traps are a good way to collect nocturnal insects attracted to lights.

Light traps are a very effective way to collect insects at night. The figure to the left shows 2 different types of light traps. Both are fairly easy to make. The first trap shows an incandescent light bulb suspended over a glass jar. The jar filled 1/3 of the way with ethyl alcohol 70%. Insects are attracted to they light, hit the light cover and fall into the funnel where they slip down into the jar.

The second light trap uses a florescent light. The sheet metal around the florescent tube deflects the insects in flight and they fall into the bucket. The bucket contains the same ethyl alcohol mixture as above.