Net bag color?

General discussion on entomology
Chuck
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Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

Hi all,

What is the best color for a net bag?

I prefer green because I'm told "be discrete" while on state/ private land, and in general it draws less attention to me. Less attention means fewer long chats interrupting field work.

White of course has been around a long time.

I see also black is available. Why? Not as much a flag as white?

Presumably, green bags are bad if your target is green-you can't see it in the net. Perhaps ditto with black, which many butterflies are.

So what are the pros and cons of each?
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by kevinkk »

The net I normally use is green, I never thought of the color being discreet, I read that green is less frightening to the quarry. Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe I need more time in the field-
In any event. any one else with me that wants a net gets white. Although my folding net is white and I use that a lot, especially jumping out
of the vehicle.

I have noticed captures can be difficult to see in the green net.
I don't think I've seen a black bag.

The collaspible cages I use in the field are white, so any passers by can clearly see that we are up to something, I stay out of parks, but not as
easy to stay off Bureau of Land Management or around here, timber company land.

we catch Speyeria at a location that's posted, and the timber guys just drive by, but strictly interpreting the posted sign, we are
violating the non-removal of forest products. I presume they mean plants, and not insects.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by bobw »

I've always used black nets. They're not too visible, but most importantly, they're easy to see through. I have tried a white bag, but it was impossible to clearly see what was inside. I've never seen a green bag.

There are arguments that it's worth using a bag colour that attracts the intended prey, so white would be good for Parnassius, and I beleieve I've seen photos of people using red net bags to attarct Ornithoptera, although I don't recall hearing anything about blue bags for Morpho, P. ulysses etc.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

Thanks for the insights thus far.

I'd not considered avoidance or attraction.

With my green bag, I can tell you fast flying papilio can evade it....I wonder if white would make any difference. I doubt it.

I've never seen any butterfly attracted to any net. However, with the right color I'm sure some would be, but the color has to be correct. Targeting Papilio ulysses, I'd found some shiny blue mylar that was the exact same color as ulysses. It was absolutely useless- they had no interest in it. Then I saw a male dive bombing a beat up, squished light blue beer can in the dirt road. I picked that up and waved it around as I walked and was constantly attacked. I have no idea why light blue would attract ulysses and the "perfect blue" did not.


Bob, thanks for the insight on seeing through a black net bag. That clinches it for me. Black it is. I'd considered white, and dye it green, but I'll shoot for black and give it a try.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Jshuey »

I use the open-weave white bags that BioQuip sold. Two reasons - First, I can easily see what I've got in the net, and second, the open weave means less drag and faster swings. Note that I use the flexible spring steel net rims (aka national park special), and less drags helps keep the rim from bending backwards a bit, which is very important if you are plucking perched bugs off the lips of tree limbs or flowers.

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Re: Net bag color?

Post by jhyatt »

I have various net bags in white (ex Bioquip), black (the material was a gift from a collector friend in England), and green. I use white most often, mainly because that's what color is on the net I most often carry. I'm a lot more interested in the openness and softness of the material than the color, which I don't think matters much at all. It can be a bit harder to see what I'm doing with a small skipper or lycaenid in the black net bag, though...
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

Jshuey wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 2:24 pm open weave means less drag and faster swings. ... less drags helps keep the rim from bending backwards a bit, which is very important if you are plucking perched bugs off the lips of tree limbs or flowers.

John
You're clairvoyant! I didn't even ask that question yet!
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Paul K
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Paul K »

I use Japanese green net and paradox khaki net.
They are not so visible from far and not asking for trouble by annoying people. I used to use them for many years now and when I try my old white net I couldn’t locate the catch in it. Somehow white colour blind me and can’t really see thru well.

Keep in mind that the colours humans see are not the same as insect may see and as Chuck said the perfect net colour might be not so perfect for butterfly.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by mothman55 »

My favourite net is a Paradox 26" diameter with Khaki mesh so thin (but non tear) that you can see the butterfly clearly, and when you drop this beast over a group of puddling Papilio canadensis, the mesh is so lightweight that it stays up longer so the butterflies can fly upward. With most nets, the bag drops flat to the road so quickly that the smarter butterflies will slip outside of the rim and escape. I did have to retrofit a Bioquip aluminum handle (with 2' segments) onto this net as the fibreglass handle it came with broke within a week. Yes it is a bit more awkward to sweep the 26" diameter through the air, but the extra capacity generally more than makes up for that.

Second favourite (and most used due to compatibility) is an 18" Boiquip folding net with white extra soft bag. This net I can store in a camera lens case and carry over my shoulder with the 12" segments. Great when you are walking a road or trail (too many people to explain to what you are doing) and don't want to be carrying a net. In this case the net comes out ASAP once a target species is seen. Yes, it does take a a few seconds to assemble and the odd time its too late to make a capture, you have to balance the awkward questions (net out) with the value to you of the species. In the past I used to carry the 12" collapsible Bioquip (National Park special) when concealment was best, and I lost sooo many leps with that tiny 12" bag that I vowed never again, unless the desired species was incredible easy to catch.

Another favourite is the Rose handle net (I believe it was from Bioquip) with more of a fish net frame, its not as flimsy as the collapsible wire rim nets, firm and sturdy, you can whip it through the air at utmost speed.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by 58chevy »

I used a green net bag for many years. It was OK, but it was difficult to see through. Later I bought a Bioquip net with a white bag. It is much easier to see through and diminishes the chances of damaging the wings when removing specimens from the net. It also has the advantage of attracting some species of butterflies, particularly Papilio palamedes. They must think the net is a patch of white flowers and they will often head straight for it, making it very easy to capture them. One even flew right into my net. Eurytides marcellus is sometimes attracted to the net also, but less often.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

58chevy wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 7:30 pm has the advantage of attracting some species of butterflies, particularly Papilio palamedes. They must think the net is a patch of white flowers and they will often head straight for it, making it very easy to capture them. One even flew right into my net. Eurytides marcellus is sometimes attracted to the net also, but less often.

Interesting! I've never used white to catch palmedes, but then again never found them challenging to capture anyway. E marcellus has proven to be a challenge, so I wonder if it's worth having a white something-or-other to attract them.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by 58chevy »

E marcellus is definitely attracted to white flowers (among others). They usually land only briefly if at all and yes, they are a challenge to capture. Unless you are a magician with the net, you have to get them while they are on the flower. Maybe a piece of fabric with white flowers on it would work.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

58chevy wrote: Mon Jan 22, 2024 3:19 pm E marcellus is definitely attracted to white flowers
This had not dawned on me, but indeed every one I've caught has been on or near small white flowers, not far off the ground.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by boghaunter1 »

For many years I used small 12" dia. white or pale yellow nets (from BioQuip) until I went to Costa Rica back many years ago. For that trip I purchased BioQuip's 18" dia. Tropic net with long extensions. I have never looked back at the tiny 12" nets... 18" nets are the way to go for diurnal leps., Odonata... despite being slightly slower to sweep through the air they make up for in area covered = much greater capture success. Larger than 18", open weave net bags, are especially good for the high flying, often elusive Odonata... sometimes I think a 3 ft. dia. net is still too small... especially as I get older :lol: .

As to net bag color, I prefer black for reasons mentioned by others... less conspicuous to other curious humans & easy to see through. I liked BioQuip's open weave & extra soft bags of which I stocked up on so have a good supply for future years. In the past, I had dyed a number of bags black, including the heavier, canvas top part, so that the entire net is black. You can buy packets of black dye at any large fabric shop or online. Dump the packet into a large, old pot filled with water... throw in the entire net(s) & gently bring to a low boil. The longer you boil, the darker resulting color. You can also just dip the nets in cold water with the dye, but the dye doesn't work nearly as well. Previously, other members have given names/web addresses of various other worldwide companies that now sell large dia. black net bags. Net color is a personal choice according to the users own experiences (whatever works best for you ;) ). Of course... I still use a white net for moths at night... :)

John K.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by boghaunter1 »

Another U.S. based Collapsible Net Supplier:



John K.
Chuck
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

boghaunter1 wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:00 pm Another U.S. based Collapsible Net Supplier:



John K.
Not really another, same guy I got my from, Todd Stout viewtopic.php?p=9038#p9038
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Jshuey »

By the way, I was just in the field where I found out that my open-weave white bag was in pretty bad shape. I used it for w few days, and then switched to a spare I brought along - BioQuip's black, very fine mesh, blunt ended net - pretty much identical to the bag in the video above. It sucked. The fine mesh meant that I missed several bugs that I tried to sweep up off the leaf litter - the fine mesh was like using a fan that pushed them away from the net mouth. The black net made it hard for me to see the little brown bugs inside - don't believe what he says about it being easier to see small bugs inside the net. And the blunt end made it really hard to confine things enough to get them into the killing jar - just too much room for them to hide in. At the end of the trip, I threw the net bag away rather than waste the jet fuel to bring it back home with me.

The moral of the story is simple. Check the condition of the net bag that is on the net before you hit the field. And remember that you hate black nets when you grab the back-up bag for a trip. In other words, I need to not be stupid.

John
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by adamcotton »

I suppose that to some extent whether the net in the video is good or bad depends on what you are trying to catch and how you use the net.

When I was collecting large butterflies (swallowtails of course) mud-puddling I didn't need to use the net in the same way you describe, just place the extended net over the butterflies and pinch them inside it. Many would be so engrossed in drinking that they wouldn't even fly up into the net.

Adam.
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by Chuck »

Great, all the new bags I bought are black.

The "good" news is that it didn't matter on my last trip, since 10 days in FL I never had cause to take the net out.
Jshuey wrote: Thu Feb 29, 2024 2:18 pm By the way, I was just in the field where I found out that my open-weave white bag was in pretty bad shape. I used it for w few days, and then switched to a spare I brought along - BioQuip's black, very fine mesh, blunt ended net - pretty much identical to the bag in the video above. It sucked. The fine mesh meant that I missed several bugs that I tried to sweep up off the leaf litter - the fine mesh was like using a fan that pushed them away from the net mouth. The black net made it hard for me to see the little brown bugs inside - don't believe what he says about it being easier to see small bugs inside the net. And the blunt end made it really hard to confine things enough to get them into the killing jar - just too much room for them to hide in. At the end of the trip, I threw the net bag away rather than waste the jet fuel to bring it back home with me.

The moral of the story is simple. Check the condition of the net bag that is on the net before you hit the field. And remember that you hate black nets when you grab the back-up bag for a trip. In other words, I need to not be stupid.

John
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Re: Net bag color?

Post by 58chevy »

Another P palamedes flew into my white net today.
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