23 Sep 🌚A Night in the Garden…🐜🐛🐞
By Dr Jean Holley
Have you ever wondered what is crawling or creeping around your garden at night? Well here is a simple way to find out, and sample some of the biodiversity at your patch!
Pitfall traps are commonly used by researchers to sample invertebrates and can range from a simple container buried in the ground, to more elaborate baited traps. For our garden survey, you can use a simple jam jar, or plastic container that is around 10cm in diameter. Find a spot in the garden and bury your container up to its rim. Leave your trap overnight. Crawling insects and invertebrates will fall into the jar and stay trapped until the morning. Empty your catch into a bucket or tray (white buckets/trays are best so you can see things clearly). Be careful of any stinging insects or spiders that may have been caught – let them go straight away.
How many different types of creepy crawlies did you catch? What jobs do you think they could be doing in your garden? Did you catch a lot or only a few? Could the numbers be related to the overnight weather? You can also set your pitfall traps throughout the day, but be mindful not to leave animals in the traps for too long because they may get too hot in the sun.