Gary Hevel began his kinship with Nature when quite young in his hometown of Oswego, Kansas. Early experiences were with snakes and other reptiles. At the Smithsonian Institution (since 1969), Gary is the public point-of-contact for the Department of Entomology. He produces the monthly departmental newsletter, EntNews, and is routinely involved in collections maintenance, curation and loans of beetles from the research collection. Through the years he has led or joined insect collecting trips to 24 worldwide countries and territories, and has collected some 200 new species of insects, with a dozen of those named for him. His latest research effort has been a four-year survey of insects in his back yard, resulting in an estimated 4,000 different species (see Oct. 2004 issue of Smithsonian magazine). This effort attracted the attention of a public television company in Japan, which sent a film crew to his residence in September, 2004 to film the story. The resulting documentary, “Bug-Hunter,” was broadcast nationally in Japan in December of that year. This documentary has recently been updated to an English language version, which is currently appearing some fifteen times per month as “Insect Microcosm” on the Smithsonian Channel (Direct TV, Channel 267). Gary has appeared in radio, television and newspaper interviews on the subject of entomology, and his busiest time with the news media was during May of 2004, when he was point person for fielding media questions about the emergence of the seventeen-year cicadas in the eastern United States. One afternoon during that period, he was interviewed on live radio transmissions two times by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company). He is pleased to have appeared in the book, Adventures of Riley: Mission to Madagascar, in the form of a cartoon, commenting as an authority on an aspect of insect life, as a sidebar to the story. Gary is witness to the fact that entomology is not for sissies. His entomological experiences include being stung by a European hornet, a cicada killer wasp, and a scorpion; and being bitten by a masked hunter bug, a wheel bug, a unique-headed bug, a minute pirate bug, a copperhead snake, and a squirrel.
Insect Collecting - Small Traps
This video will show how to use small traps for insect collecting.
Gary Hevel: Hi! I am Gary Hevel, we are talking today about starting an insect collection. One of the things I want to talk about now are, pitfall traps and other small traps and attractants for insects. What we have here, are two equally sized containers, and the idea is to make this a pitfall trap. Its a matter of digging into the soil about the height of this container and placing the top lip at the soil level. Then putting this container of equal size inside and then filling it up or putting at least three or four inches of soapy water into the receptacle. Then you go away, and come back in two or three days to see what kind of beetles have been walking to forest floor and fallen into the traps. Beetles and small things like spiders, that is a very effective way and person accumulates things that they otherwise would not find by this method. Another similar way is to use these little dishes here, relatively small and you put soapy water again into these. But you color them inside with bright colors for the best effective way to work with them and then you just simply put the soapy water dish on the surface of the soil. Along the trails, you can use quite a few of them, and go every 25 feet or so and leave a cup. So that's another nice way of finding bees and wasps and things that will normally come to flower colors, to visit flowers for nectar but then are trapped and deceived by the colors of the interior here. So that's another nice little trap.
The other way to attract insects, well there is a couple of things you can work or do with attractants; use as attractants, old fish is a good thing. Just get some old fish or similar stuff and put it on the -- underneath a board somewhere in the near woods or in the shade. And then come back in a day or so and see what kind of beetles have come to that foul smelling odour. So fish is a good thing that way.
Now if a person wants to collect certain flies and maybe other insects, you can just open a can of cat food or dog food and put it next to a tree base and come back in a day or two, see what has accumulated there. Its rather unlimited in your imagination in what you can use as attractants. People have used old sandwiches on tree trunks and all kinds of things that way that will attract the insects and you dont know about until you try to use them. Next, we will look at advanced trap collecting.