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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Simple Design for a Rain Resistant Pitfall Trap

Author
item Porter, Sanford

Submitted to: Insectes Sociaux
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 8, 2004
Publication Date: June 15, 2005
Citation: Porter, S.D. 2005. A simple design for a rain resistant pitfall trap. Insectes Sociaux. 52: 201-203.

Interpretive Summary: Pitfall traps are a standard method for assessing the abundance and distribution of ants and many other terrestrial arthropods. Heavy rain can fill pitfall traps with water so that they no longer function. A USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist in Gainesville, Florida has developed a simple design for a rain-resistant pitfall trap. The trap is constructed by grinding a hole in the side of a plastic vial and then covering it with fine-gage wire screen. This hole allows excess water to drain out the side of the trap so that trap does not fill with water. A method for quickly setting small-diameter pitfalls into the ground with an auger and a battery-powered drill is also described. The use of rain resistant pitfall traps should benefit scientists doing quantitative arthropod surveys by improving the dependability and productivity of pitfall traps during rainy weather.

Technical Abstract: Heavy rain causes major problems with using pitfall traps to collect ants and other surface-active arthropods. A simple design for a rain-resistant pitfall trap is described. The trap is constructed by grinding a hole in the side of a plastic vial and then covering it with fine-gage wire screen. This hole allows excess water to drain out the side of the trap. A method for quickly setting small-diameter pitfalls into the ground with an auger and a battery-powered drill is also described.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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