Over 54 years automatic-capture high-wattage light traps were operated for 1,390,000 light-trap hours.
- My light traps 1980's , Abita Springs, La w text 53 ft.jpg (130.67 KiB) Viewed 812 times
Our fermenting fruit bait traps operated only for about 1,270,000 trap-hours here in Louisiana. But, we never operated bait traps more than about 7-8 ft above ground level, mostly our bait traps operated at a height of near 6 feet above ground. There was a reason for this, all of our bait traps typically used around a minimum of 3 liquid gallon of bait. In my 2022 publication concerning our lifelong entomological research and collecting activities, I discussed the details of our bait trapping. We used European and Asian pears and apples, peaches, nectarines and other fruit trees, and bananas plants, blueberries, paw paws, fig trees and others, in order to obtain thousands of pounds of fruit used in operating our fermenting fruit bait traps year-round 52 weeks yearly for decades. We also used fruit from on-site wild native plants and trees at the AESS (hawthorns, crabapples, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, elderberries, currants, etc.). Typically our fermenting bait consisted of store-bought apples, bananas, figs, peaches, pears and others blended with white granulated cane sugar and regular beer and onsite potable well water. Over the past half century, we used about three+ gallons of liquid bait in each trap and topped off the containers with fresh bait every day or two during all 12 months of every year. We used over 2,000 pounds of granulated cane sugar and brown sugar, 50+ gallons of molasses and cane syrups, more than 1,200 gallons of standard 5% alcohol beer, many hundreds of gallons of wines and ethanol, numerous thousands of gallons of non-chlorinated, naturally occurring on site potable well-water, and others.
As you can see our unique trapping methods resulted in a typical trap including bait, resulting in a weight of 25-30 lbs a weight for each trap easily. It is very problematic to operate traps at greater heights as they had to be attended daily to remove captures and to constantly re-freshen the bait. At a higher height we would have to establish a heavy duty pully system to handle the large traps and the heavy baits used. There was only so much we could handle, so we did not attempt to operate them at a higher elevation. We were able to capture hundreds of butterflies daily and hundreds of underwings daily, hundreds of hawkmoths on a good day and innumerable other insects in these traps. I designed both live capture and cyanide dispatching stationary versions of our bait traps. And I published how to fabricate these as well.
Here is my 1992 3-page publication how to fabricate our live capture bait traps. Have to go, need to run traps before sundown.
- 1992. 15. Extendended duty bait trap designed for continual year-round use._Page_3.jpg (118.44 KiB) Viewed 670 times
- 1992. 15. Extendended duty bait trap designed for continual year-round use._Page_2.jpg (197.1 KiB) Viewed 670 times
- 1992. 15. Extendended duty bait trap designed for continual year-round use._Page_1.jpg (203.34 KiB) Viewed 670 times
The bait works best with over ripe fruit and even better using cane-sugars and yet better using alcohol (beer) which has yeast. Saying that 'NEVER EVER ADD YEAST TO YOUR BAIT RECIPE' !!
I would go to a grocery store and find entire tables of near rotting bananas, where I would ask the produce manager to sell me all of his rotting bananas for $2-5.00. Usually the answer is yes. Similar sources at fruit farms, orchards, tree farms. A friend once found several 55-gallon drums of liquified bananas which came off of a maritime ship coming into a US port after an at sea accident. Here at my home bananas were attractive to a colorful cerambycid species found in my bait traps that was only found in my banana-bait fruit traps.
Apples, peaches, nectarines, pluots, any varieties and bananas (singularly or in combination) are best choices for bait formula preparation. One needs to cut fruit, each into 4 pieces, then place about 2-4 cups of fruit into powerful blender, add 2 cups non-chlorinated water (potable water, eg well water is ok), and 2 cups granulated sugar. Blend for 15 seconds, then pour using funnel into water-washed empty 1-gallon plastic milk jugs. Fill only 50-60% and leave lid loose as fermentation begins immediately and for several days thereafter.
Ok Jellybean, you asked. Most everyone reading this bait trap and recipes will think 'all of this is not necessary'. Maybe so, but my bait traps have lasted at least 8-10 years and some with regular maintenance and repair into 20-30 years operating 24 hours 365-366 days continuously out in the wilds. Consider, I ran these bait traps here at my home for about 8 years non-stop and we captured about 40,000 just butterflies (mostly nymphalids) each and every year during those 8 years. So you choose those ''this not necessary thinkers' or my instructions. Obviously if you live in an apartment, go with the other guys.
Consider, I don't do any methods other entomologist have historically done to collect any insects. In the late 1960s, I began development of my own traps and my own methods for everything entomology related. E.g. I purchased two pickup trucks using the proceeds from collecting only dung beetles just here at my home. Yes, I used typical pitfall traps for certain smaller species, but I developed my own easier method to capture larger quantities of more sought after species, without need to dig holes in the ground. These specimens were purchased by collectors throughout the world only in bulk amounts, minimum order 100 pairs of one species. Still, this type of collecting for me is man-hour intensive as for decades it would take me 2 hours daily to pick up captures and ready traps (in all of my various 120-180 annually operating insect traps here at my home). Consider also, one has to afterwords spend hours daily to pin, spread, label, identify, store them. Why, because tomorrow the traps are filed with millions more fresh captures. I typically get no days off here for freezing winter temps, or snow, etc. All of our traps operate continuously even in torrential downpours of rain, storms, hurricanes, etc.
Here is a photo of my kill everything-type bait traps and second image is lid of that trap removed showing typical daily catch. Each different micro-habitat would yield a different selection of species. These typesof traps yield unbelievable amounts of high quality specimens, and of species not captured in quantities otherwise. My goal all along has been the development of traps that don't require my presence to do the collecting. I developed my kill-type bait traps because in the live-capture traps, specimens beat themselves to pieces every day. see jpg -a waste of catocala in live capture trap.
- Catocala in bait trapbb.jpg (480.43 KiB) Viewed 637 times
- 2008 bait trap 2 with collection chamber inet.jpg (721 KiB) Viewed 637 times
- DSCF0003.jpg (727.62 KiB) Viewed 637 times
Did you ever have problems with your large volume of bait getting "over-fermented" - i.e., generating a lot of vinegar - in the trap, and stop attracting leps? I've occasionally had that happen, but them my bait prep methods have never been as systematic as yours.... I keep varying the receipt.
I buy overripe bananas when I find them on sale, peel them, and freeze them for later use. I've never tried making complete bait, letting it start to ferment, and then freezing it for later use. Might that work?
I've had occasional trouble with store-bought apples. Some of them never seemed to rot, even with sugar and beer added. I suspect the trees are grown with a systemic fungicide which gets into the fruit, but I don't really know. I now stick with homegrown apples.
I captured amazing amounts of butterflies, hawkmoths, catocala, on and on using these traps. Sometimes we would empty the live capture traps in the early morning hours (while the captures were still inactive from the night time), and by mid afternoon there would be 300+ catocala in each trap. Too bad my methods were so labor and man-hour intensive. Attached is a non-published blurb about our bait recipe. ALWAYS AVOID USING HONEY IN YOUR BAIT>
- My fermenting fruit bait recipe which I have used for over 40 years has been copied and placed on numerous websites for at least 15.jpg (626.66 KiB) Viewed 621 times
This was part of my experimentation with operating light traps at different heights. There have been several journal publications from the 1950s-1960s discussing this subject, even one publication where a Louisiana state record skipper species was captured in an entomological survey in North Louisiana using an airplane. Some light trap studies were done using traps mounted at different elevations of forest fire towers. What I discovered over the past half century is that the more delicate species e.g. geometrids, pyralids, and smaller micros are much less often captured at traps operating at greater heights. Sphingids occurred in greater quantities at higher elevations, and the most delicate species are most often captured at heights of 1-3 feet above ground. The image of a trap operating 53 feet above ground is just one of many heights I operated light traps. The traps we operated at 1-3 feet heights are responsible for large numbers of numerous new Louisiana state record lepidoptera species, and including discoveries of many species new to science. All of these records are examples of how we were able to discover over 400 species of just moths new to science in Louisiana. So, we not only learned a lot, but we proved these matters using basic scientific methods, but consider 'NO ONE' else has bothered to do this even to today -2023.
More noteworthy concerning trap heights is that the optimal best height for best volume of captures is getting the traps just above the more dense lower secondary growth, not necessarily above the largest trees. You can see what I mean in the original image of a light trap operating at a height of 53'. Note the lower half of that photo illustrates (secondary) dense lower growth.
Another example of just one aspect of our research is, we have been preparing a manuscript where a Gulf-coast (including Louisiana) clearwing moth species has been reported by researchers (those deemed published N.A. Sesiidae experts for the past century) to have one extended annual brood occurring January through December, even in the most current (1988) MONA fascicle on Sesiidae. Each subsequent sesiid author over the past century also were repeating what the earlier authors have also repeated, just as occurs in all of the scientific literature on N.A. Lepidoptera. We discovered there is actually (4) four annual broods of this clearwing moth species in N.A. Right now the fourth annual brood of this particular species is occurring here this year. We run our traps every day of every year to get these actual daily documented data points, as we have done daily for the past 54 years.
To do these things we did not apply meaningless statistical formulas to prove science as fact, as so much of existing scientific literature contains today, but we collected and counted each and every wild adult clearwing moth (100%) captured daily 365-366 days for the past 54 years (no statistical formulas used). I am not a person to speak negatively about statistics, as my only college 'A'' -grades are in statistical courses, and I was employed specifically in Quality Assurance/Quality Control for about 10 years of my early work history in which I used statistical formulas daily.
We began these entomological phenology studies in 1970 when the first 'Moths of North America' MONA fascicle was published on the family Sphingidae and we recognized there was made-up and anecdotal opinions stated as factual and plagiarized phenology crap throughout the book. Now, we went a bit overboard in eventually publishing a 30-year non-stop study of the Sphingidae of Louisiana which covered the years (1970-1999) in which we counted daily and reported capturing 83,889 wild adult Sphingidae specimens representing 46 species within the state of Louisiana, including discovering two new hawk moth species, both from right here at my home location.
And the majority of all our 461 entomological publications to date includes 365-366 day phenology data. SO 'WE LEARNED QUITE A LOT, going 'where no researchers have gone before'. Here is a jpg illustrating small series of a sample (~250 males and females) of a newly discovered clearwing moth nearly all collected using MV light traps running about (1-2) feet above ground. I hope to describe this species and 25 or other new clearwing moth species we discovered here in Louisiana. Covell (1984) and (2005) stated only one species of clearwing moth is attracted to UV light, yet I have personally captured ~100,000 clearwing moths representing ~30 different clearwing moth species in my UV light traps here in Louisiana. Obviously, that statement is not true.
Here is a phenogram illustrating the (4) annual broods we recorded occurring in Louisiana for the hawkmoth species Paonias myops in Louisiana. Paonias myops (J. E. Smith): four broods, first peaking late March; peaks two through four occur at approximately 50-day intervals, beginning early June. P. myops was previously reported by Beutenmüller (1895) as probably double-brooded near New York City, by Hodges in MONA (1970-71) as seemingly single-brooded (March through October), and by Heitzman (1987) as having multiple broods in Missouri. Look for yourself at my published phenogram (pasted here) concerning Paonias myops in Louisiana. How many annual broods do you count, certainly not one annual brood stated in MONA ? Handy jpg of a male Paonias myops from Louisiana attached
Hodges in MONA also reported the two other species of the genus Paonias occurring in N.A. as each having '2' annual broods. But, neither actually have two annual broods in N.A., in fact we proved these two species as well have '4' annual broods in Louisiana. In fact only a single species addressed by Brou and Brou and by Hodges in (MONA) of the 58 hawkmoth species occurring in Louisiana had the correct phenology stated by Hodges. Brou Jr., V.A. and C.D. Brou 1997. Distribution and phenologies of Louisiana Sphingidae. Jour. Lepid. Soc. 51:156-175
I will end my comments by saying what I have said for most of the past half century "DON''T BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ IN OUR SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE" no matter how many PhDs say so. The vast majority of our scientific literature is simply plagiarized by current authors. What is not plagiarized is simply anecdotal opinions without any proofs. If you don't agree, then your spending too many hours out in the field and not in your library.
- Synanthedon new species - series fem red.jpg (492.01 KiB) Viewed 507 times
- DSCF0844.JPG (511.48 KiB) Viewed 507 times
- myops.jpg (55.58 KiB) Viewed 507 times
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