Black Light Trap

Black light trap

Lights. Many night-active insects are attracted to lights. Good specimens can be obtained from looking around lights at brightly-lit gasoline stations and shopping centers, particularly in the country where there are few other lights around. Excessive night lighting (light pollution) disrupts insect behavior and may explain why fewer large silk moth specimens occur there.

Soft, yellow lights are least attractive to most insects although some midges will still be found around these lamps. Some are sold as “bug lights” intended to make porch lights less attractive to nuisance insects like May and June beetles. Night-active insects like cockroaches seem unable to detect red light. They can be used to study night-active insects like cockroaches and some ants because they do not disturb their nocturnal behaviour. A flea trap has been commercially produced that uses a suspended light bulb over a card coated with sticky material (a pan of water would also work). When placed on the floor, fleas are attracted to the light and become trapped!

Black lights. Ultraviolet or near-ultraviolet “black lights” (the lights in “bug zappers”, but without the electronic grid) are highly attractive to many night-flying moths, beetles and other insect and insect relatives. Light traps are commercially-available through entomological supply catalogs or sources. These devices are generally made to stand upright or affixed to containers. A killing agent is placed in the container and the trap can be left over night or for a period of days before retrieving insects collected. However, for collection purposes generally-available “black light” strips can simply be hung in front of a bed sheet suspended vertically to attract specimens that are then simply trapped in a jar. It is advisable to wear ear plugs when collecting from sheets behind black lights as small insects may get into ears. Also, more insects appear to be attracted to these traps during moonless nights.


Comments are closed.