How to survey insects

This is a sweat bee or potentially an endemic yellow faced bee female.

Hi, for my Kilo ʻĀina research project I am doing an insect survey at Kalaeloa Wildlife Refuge. To find out what insects live at Kalaeloa, we set up pan traps, a Malaise trap, and ant traps. We also used a sweep net to survey insects on vegetation. The goal of this survey is to see what species are on the refuge and if there are any endemic species that need further protection and a more extensive survey.

Pan Traps

Pan traps are a container with soapy water weighted with a small rock or paper weight. It is placed near a small hill or tree so that any insects that fall or fly in get stuck. These traps are set out for 2-4 days, any longer and small insect bodies start to decompose.


Ant Traps

The ant traps that we used were note cards baited with honey, canned cat food, and peanut butter. We set out 4 note cards with all 3 baits for about 30 minutes. When time was done we put the ants in ziplock bags and later transferred them into vials with 75% ethanol.


Sweep Net

While waiting for the ant traps we went through the vegetation with a sweep net to collect any loose insects for about 10 minutes. I then dumped the contents of the net into a clear container to sort insects from plant parts. I transferred the insects into vials via an aspirator (insect siphon/vacuum). The total time of this took about 25-30 minutes. The vials with the insects were later put in the freezer or preserved in 75% ethanol.


Malaise Trap
The malaise trap is a tent shaped trap with a bottle of ethanol hanging in the center to preserve any organisms that fall in. This trap was    set out for 1 week.
– Nathan
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