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Made my first pitfall trap...

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by Andee, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    So I made my first pitfall trap. I decided to place it in a rather busy place in my backyard, (since I have tons of plants and wildlife because of it as far as insects and reptile visitors... sometimes raccoons and opossums if we have a really wild night). But I am trying to figure out how to make one safely in another place that sees not only more insect traffic, but sadly human and other animal traffic as well.... so does anyone have any ideas?
  2. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    How are you making a pit fall trap that would be unsafe for non arthropod animals and humans? Pit fall traps for insects and spiders are basically plastic drinking cups resting in a hole in the ground with a preservative of some sort in the cup for killing and preservation. The safest preservative for mammals and the environment is propylene glycol. Pit fall traps are usually done with some kind of roof over it to keep out larger animals. A roof can be anything simple like a piece of plywood propped up over the cup.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Oh no I don't mean safe for the other animals/humans, I mean safe for the insects. I am collecting the insects live, I check on them through out the day, I several places surrounding me that I could check in the middle of the day and then in the morning or just lid them/remove them and fill the hole if I wasn't going to be near by. I have somewhere that is literally a 20 minute walk away from me. The thing I worry about most is someone else finding it? Or an animals possibly raiding my trap (though that doesn't worry me as much as a human being stupid and picking up something they generally shouldn't).
  4. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    Oh ok, I see. Well, unfortunately there really isn't anyway to hide the pitfall trap from people and animals. Especially in high traffic areas. That just comes with the territory of using them. They can be quite conspicuous. The only suggestion I have is to get creative with making a camoflauged roof for the trap. The roof for the trap will keep it somewhat hidden and protect your captured insects from the sun. Thow some leaves and sticks on top to keep it hidden.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Is there a specific water source (such as fruit or veggies) that would be best overall if the insect needs to drink quicker than 12 hours? I want to cause as little casualties as possible... As far as the people thing I guess I could for hot glue and dirt and leaves... XD. Animals I don't care about because dogs likely wouldn't show interest and anything else would know what to avoid likely (most worried about something getting hurt from touching something dangerous).
  6. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    If you use a bit of fruit or vegetables in the trap you will be baiting your pitfall trap and get more insects, but yes that would work to keep them hydrated and fed. :) As far as the roof thing goes, you don't really have to go through the trouble of hot gluing debris onto anything. Some more ideas to cover your pitfall trap: cut a black plastic flower pot in half and partially bury it over your trap or tape it on the top of the cup, cut some black poster board and attach it to your cup with some dark duct tape so you have a nice curved roof insects can crawl under, and so on. Just be mindful of the weather. If you use a paper product to cover your trap and it happens to rain or there are sprinklers near by, the paper will get wet and soggy. The point is to have whatever you use to cover your trap a dark color and just big enough to cover your cup so it doesn't stand out to any nosey people wondering why there is a cup buried in the ground with bugs in it.
  7. spotropaicsav

    spotropaicsav Arachnobaron Active Member

    Never thought to try this, some great ideas for collecting, thanks for informative thread. Sounds fun too! @Andee you could really get creative
  8. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    I've looked at several ways to adjust traps that are used for collecting insects that will be used for mounting but end up changing them to be safely used for humane traps as long as I check them regularly.
  9. Smokehound714

    Smokehound714 Arachnoking

    A flat stone can be used to keep pits secured. However skunks and raccoons will be able to move it.

    Your biggest problem will probably be ground beetles, which are fierce predators, and are known for eating all the soft bugs trapped with them.

    Back when i used to play with pit traps, a wide assortment of carabidae would ruin alot of my traps. I would return to see a big stinky callisthenes and nothing else but spider legs.
  10. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    I am actually interested mostly in catching ground beetles! So that would be wonderful. Though I would prefer to stay away from the ones who expell the worst scents XD
  11. ShyDragoness

    ShyDragoness Arachnoknight

    I cant really offer advice but would love to hear about your successes!
  12. Andee

    Andee Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    I definitely will keep everyone updated. So far I haven't been able to go out to set the other traps elsewhere, been too busy to take a couple hours to make sure I have time to dig and etc. And my backyard one isn't hugely successful and I assume that is because of the amount ant colonies I have at my house. (Constant battle to make sure they stay outside) Today all I have to do is make dog treats so if everything else goes as expected I will be walking up and planting my trap later today likely.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Scoly

    Scoly Arachnoknight

    Just use planks or a large piece of chipboard to cover the hole. As for avoiding on animal type eating all the others, one thing you can do although it takes a bit of equipment, work and/or imagination is to create a system with multiple containers at the bottom.

    For example, get a large plastic container and drill a grid of different sized holes at 2-3" intervals in the base. Dig a hole a bit deeper than the container and and line the bottom of the hole with small deli cups facing up, each one lined up with one of the holes in the base of the larger container. That way any carnivorous item you catch can only eat what's in it's own cup, so you maximise your chances of catching a variety of items with one trap. You can pack the cups in sand to keep them in place, or create a more elaborate structure with two large tubs that stack one inside the other etc...

    Another really cool way of catching ten times as much is to set to pitfall trap close to each other, joined by a small metal wall a few inches high. This way any traffic that comes against the wall will be diverted towards one of the traps, and that will be considerably more than the traffic which chances directly upon a pitfall trap (unless your bait is indeed effective).

    Like so:

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Mirandarachnid

    Mirandarachnid Arachnobaron Active Member

    I know what my next metal-work assignment for my boyfriend is!
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Dennis Nedry

    Dennis Nedry Arachnobaron Active Member

    I made a few really deep pitfall traps a while ago, caught lots of insects, frogs and a little tiger snake. My advice is to make multiple so you can bait one with dog kibble or something and leave the other as is, a long piece of plastic or mesh running horizontally across the pitfall and out the sides is a good way to direct small animals into the trap
    • Like Like x 2