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Zoology science fair project:
Which kind of bait makes the best wasp trap?




Science Fair Project Information
Title: Which kind of bait makes the best wasp trap?
Subject: Zoology
Grade level: Primary School - Grades K-3
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($50)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2012
Materials: three 2L plastic pop bottles, scissors, felt pen, bamboo skewer, string, tap water, sugar water, apple juice, raw chicken, strainer, hole punch
Description: The tops of the bottles were cut and used as funnels placed upside down into the cut bottles which would make the escape for insects from the bottles more difficult because the openings were small. Inside the bottles were placed as bait tap water, sugar water and chicken. The numbers of wasps and other insects trapped were counted daily and compared.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2012/biickm
Short Background

Wasp and Insect Trap

Bottle trap for insects
CC 3.0

A bottle trap is an insect trap made out of a plastic bottle. Most collectors use bottles of 1.5 or 2 liters to make these traps but smaller bottles are sometimes used as well. There are basically two types:

Funnel type. These bottle traps are made by cutting off the neck of the bottle as well as the complete tapering part of the top. The neck and cap are discarded. For catching wasps only the cap is removed, while leaving the neck in place. The tapering part is placed upside down on top of the rest of the bottle, thereby effectively forming a funnel. This funnel is then fixed to the bottle by piercing both bottle and funnel at two opposing sides. A wire fitted through these holes ensures the funnel solidly fits on the bottle, while the trap can easily be opened when required. After putting the bait in the bottle the trap is placed at the desired location.

Advantages:
Insects can't escape from this type of trap, since they fly up along the side of the bottle, not finding the exit, which is in the middle. Bats and large moths can't enter the trap, since they are too large to fit through the funnel. This type can, unlike the other kind, also be used to collect troublesome wasps

Disadvantages:
Not only insects but also rain will funnel into the trap. This trap is therefore normally only used in dry seasons.
This construction requires a bit more work than the side door type.

Side-door type. A side-door bottle trap consists of a bottle with cap of which the higher end of one upright side is cut open. A simple rectangular shape is cut out, taking care that it stays attached to the bottle on its upside. This plastic flap is then bend upward, effectively forming a rain shield over the entrance. After adding some bait the trap is put in its place.

Advantages:
Because of its opening with rain shield very little rain enters the trap, making it effective in wet seasons too.
Construction is very simple and requires no additional materials.

Disadvantages:
The wider opening allows for small bats and large moths to enter. These may die in the trap and pollute it, as well as forming, with their wings, a bridge to the exit.
Captured beetles may escape again since they may simply fly upward along the side of the bottle.

Many different types of bait are used. Since this kind of trap is mainly used for beetles that are attracted to (over)ripe fruits, baits with a certain amount of alcohol are usually very effective. Types of bait which are commonly used are:

For beetles: Banana with or without beer or rum (and sometimes with added sugar). A mixture of red wine, vinegar and sugar.

For wasps (funnel type bottle trap only): Syrup, soft drink or sugar water.

Insect traps are used to monitor or directly reduce insect populations. They typically use food, visual lures, chemical attractants and pheromones as bait and are installed so that they do not injure other animals or humans or result in residues in foods or feeds. Visual lures use light, bright colors and shapes to attract pests. Chemical attractants or pheromones may attract only a specific sex. Insect traps are sometimes used in pest management programs instead of pesticides but are more often used to look at seasonal and distributional patterns of pest occurrence. This information may then be used in other pest management approaches.

The trap mechanism or bait can vary widely. Light traps with ultraviolet attract certain insects. Designs differ according to the behaviour of the insects being studied. Grasshoppers and some beetles are attracted to lights at a long range but are repelled by it at short range. Farrow's light trap has a large base so that it captures insects that may otherwise fly away from regular light traps. Flies and wasps are attracted by proteins. Mosquitoes and many other insects are attracted by bright colors, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, floral or fruity fragrances, warmth, moisture and pheromones. Synthetic attractants like methyl eugenol are very effective with Tephritid flies. Yellow pan traps are used to monitor aphids and some other sap-sucking insects. Pitfall traps are used for ground foraging and flightless insects such as beetles of the family Carabidae.

See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottle_trap_for_insects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect_trap

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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