First time field hunting for insects

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
So I did field hunting all the time when I was young but that was for various reptiles. I have done hunting recently but that was just for local grasshoppers and I didn't stray off the path much. This time I likely going to be straying majorly, the area I will be in is known for having various snakes and the majority are either gophers and other harmless and beneficial guys, but it is also known for having rattlesnakes pop up now and then. I obviously know how to tell the difference and I don't plan on bothering any of the reptiles when I go out. But I want to avoid getting bit by ANYTHING venomous if I can, and this includes are local highly venomous spiders that I can occasionally run across.

I am wondering if anyone has any tips for this? I will be mostly looking for various predatory beetles and wood boring beetles. If I find anything else cool, that I think I can make happy and study well, I will pick them up as well. But I want to practice safety (one reason my dog isn't coming with me because I would not be able to focus on both of us and the insects). So I assume gloves may be needed when flipping wood at least in the beginning, good shoes, long pants. Anything else? It is also tick season at the moment near me. So I know to be careful with that. The place I am going usually has shorter grass because it is near a herd of horses and they go through every now and then and trim it down when there is healthy grasses and weeds to eat. Any good gloves to use? Also what are the best small collection containers I can bring?
 

RepugnantOoze

Arachnosquire
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
131
I'd say go with your gut. You more cautious then most would be. Empty pill bottles work well for me. Just don't take all the asprin in one go.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
XD I am probably more cautious because of the area I am going into. I know the dangers there like the back of my hand, and I am not great at identifying the arachnids surrounding me, though I know we can have some nasty species around where I am going. I am interested to see if I run across any of the trap door spiders we supposedly have near me... I have never seen them and I assume since they mostly stay in the burrow I would be really really lucky to run across one. I also have had some weird allergies pop up lately, so getting bit by anything would be preferably avoided in case of a weird horrible reaction I have yet to learn about.

I question I think myself more with the dangers I am going into (considering some of you guys go after desert species who I wouldn't even try yet), because I am pretty bad with identification at the moment, though I am trying to learn my species near me really really well. Either way, thanks for the help ^^ I hope to come back with some interesting guys soon ^^
 

AntlerAlchemist

Arachnosquire
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
102
Whats your location? I'm on my phone so maybe I'm missing that. I'm in the Tucson area and often walk in open space and off the trail.So plenty of rattle snakes, scorpions and black widows. During the warm hours of the day snakes will be alert and either move away from you or alert you of their presence. Although that may not always be the case you just have to be observant. Generally they will hang out under bushes or they could take refuge under a pile of logs and sticks. I've personally never had a problem with rattle snakes and I've encountered plenty. They just want to be left alone. As for venomous spiders, don't stick your fingers where you can't see them (same goes for snakes). If you want to pick up a piece of wood to look under, just grab the edge facing away from you. Don't stick your fingers underneath it. When you lift the wood, lift it facing away. That way if there is anything you want to avoid underneath, the wood will be between you and the critter. Also don't forget to have fun and tell us what you find!
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
I live in Central CA. The only issue with the rattle snakes where I am headed is there are tons of ground squirrel holes they use as burrows. I have had very little issues with adult rattlesnakes (have never been bit in all honestly by adult or anything younger) what I worry most about are the youngsters when they are all nervous. But I always prefer just giving a snake a wide birth if I am not actively snake hunting. I don't want to stress them out and I prefer not getting bit (whether it's poisonous or not) the only time when I may bother them, is if they are in a people populated area that is not safe for them or the people. Love the little guys, just don't want to mess with them if I am not looking for them XD We do have some pretty rat snakes here though. Thanks for the info about the spiders.
 

BabaYaga

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
6
Good on you for not bothering the wildlife!
Most bites from rattlers and the like tend to happen when someone's trying to kill the snake, as long as you heed their warnings and keep a sharp eye, I should think you'll be alright. I'd also wear thick denim jeans and leather boots just in case, to offer a little bit more protection. A hardcore snake bite might be able to penetrate those layers, but a quick tag and fast reflexes could easily spare you envenomation. Overall I don't think I'd be too worried about it, but it pays to be careful.

Agree with @AntlerAlchemist on how to look under stuff!
I don't field collect spiders/insects, but I'm into Vulture Culture and regularly go out looking for bones and corpses to feed to my carrion beetles. Steel toed boots are your friend, and work well for tipping stuff like rotting logs over and mussing up piles of leaves to look for interesting things!
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
Well I don't actively try to stress any of the wildlife (including insects) anymore than I have to. If I am collecting I actively try to avoid anyone whose not my targetted species. If I don't know what they are and I can't ID them at the scene I will likely capture them bring them home, put some pictures up online and keep them in a nice sized deli cup until I know for sure. If they aren't what I want, I will return them fairly close if not directly where I found them. I also am the type of person who tries to rescue any insect who finds their way in my house, anything from spiders, to the carpenter bees who sometimes randomly find their way in my house who have their home in my wooden lattice outside. The only species I don't want in my house are the ants. They are just too much of a danger with my reptiles and other insects. So they are killed. Sadly. However if they stay outside I have no issue with it.

As far as my insects I will be collecting, I am already doing as much research as possibly into the current humidity, heat, and rain amount we are having locally so I can directly copy the habitat. To make the beetles I collect and whatever else feel comfortable and at home. I plan to give them a huge rubbermaid and depending on the species I find I may or may not house them together. I will have plenty of places for them to make as territory even if they are a somewhat communal/social species, because I know how much it can help just having places for different ones to claim as their own places. I have noticed this with my dubia roaches as well. I have plenty of species of feeder insects to feed to them. So they should be happy I hope when I bring them home eventually. That definitely won't happen for at least several weeks, not until I am happy with the set up and my knowledge of what I have learned.
 

BobBarley

Arachnoprince
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
1,480
Central California, eh? I'm also in the central valley. Where are you located? Perhaps we can meet up to go collecting sometime. ;) I'm near Modesto, about an hour from Sacramento.
 
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