Welcome back to the Field!

Summer may be kicking into high gear, but our malaise trap survey is winding down for the season. To give you a refresher on what our malaise trap survey entails, here’s our dispatch from last year’s field notes!

One of my favorite aspects of science is getting outside to set up experiments; I worked my way through college as a field tech for several labs on the University of Montana campus, and even though I love my time in our lab with the animals, when I heard about the opportunity to get outside I jumped at it.

MBHI is participating in a multi-year collaborative insect abundance survey; the study aims to better understand the massive declines of insect populations across the globe. It’s easy to get sucked into the doom-and-gloom predictions of the impending insect apocalypse, but through outreach and education, MBHI hopes to give everyone the tools and resources to help mitigate insect declines.

In order to measure insect abundance in accordance with the other researchers involved around the country, we had to use a specific style of Malaise trap, which is shown in the photos.

Once the malaise trap is constructed, it resembles a tent; the insects fly in and are directed into the highest corner of the tent, and are funneled into a jar of ethanol. After the trap is taken down, the insects will be identified and weighed together to get a sense of the overall insect biomass in the area. 

Until next time, thanks for joining us at the lab!

Bug Wrangler Brenna

Want to revisit a previous Notes from the Lab issue? Check out our archive! Do you want to request a subject for an upcoming issue? Email me at the address above and put “Notes from the Lab” in the subject line.