Pollinator Vac & Pitfall Tube Designs


My pollinator vac is simple and by using a modified Ryobi hand vac, we can select the battery size we need and bring enough to last all day.  The picture below shows the full vac put together (top) and broken into the parts (bottom).  I make about 30 collecting tubes (inserted in the end of the larger clear tube in image).  Either put the name of the plant or a flower in the tube and replace the tube when you collect on another plant species. These videos show you how I make them:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuTcZJVG8C8&t=126s , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuTcZJVG8C8&list=PL7cBgVs7p2owbpvjaZ1pVlx-djPa3iArz , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFgQOrjw5XY&list=PL7cBgVs7p2owbpvjaZ1pVlx-djPa3iArz&index=2 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcNHrmdLApE&index=3&list=PL7cBgVs7p2owbpvjaZ1pVlx-djPa3iArz ,  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpYWjPHHlFo&list=PL7cBgVs7p2owbpvjaZ1pVlx-djPa3iArz&index=4 . I personally think a good net is better than these vacs, but if you are doing quantitative surveys  they are wonderful.  Much easier to obtain uniform sampling off of specific flowers than teaching student techs to be uniform with net technique.  The biggest cost are the batteries, but I also use batteries in all of my Ryobi tools.  Butterflies can be collected without beating them up but you have to be careful.  You do not need to use Ryobi, I believe any of the other brands that make hand vacs will work. The noise from the vac does not seem to affect insects, collector movement seems more important.  You can make the main tube as long as you want, but the standard length we use seems like a good compromise between ease of use and placing the person collecting far enough away that they do not scare insects off flowers.  It allows us to sample a 2-meter swath.


Another Strumigenys species just discovered in the Southwest using the modified INHS pitfall tube design below.  I still think this is the best pitfall design, the only limitation I know is the borosilicate tubes are only made by one company, but so far they have been great.  You can leave them in the ground forever.  We compared them with solo cups and they captured the biggest species (solo cups captured more big species) but they did much better in capturing small species and more total species than the solo cup. Their small footprint makes them great for areas like National Parks because they minimize soil disturbance and they are nearly invisible.  I either use black or white tops or I will spray paint tops to match the ground for area I sampling. They are more expensive than solo cups (about $2 per trap) but they last a lifetime and the borosilicate tubes can be easily switched out for monitoring.

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