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We could say it all started on Friday with the set up….but really we have been chomping at the bit since Monday. So excited to be part of this great program and eagerly awaiting to be contributors of data!
We are an enthusiastic bunch of Grade 6 students from Crestview Public School in Kitchener. For the rest of Canada, we are about an hour west of Toronto. Our school is surrounded by Ash, Maple and Walnut trees which is pretty typical for this area, and at the moment we are enjoying the last « hurrah » of summer with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s everyday.
We decided on a somewhat secluded spot at the back of the Kindergarten play area. We had to adjust the caution tape to be lower so that the little Kindies would not crawl under to sneak a peak. Our tent is surrounded by trees and bushes and by the looks of it LOTS of flying insects!
Glad to part of this awesome team. We are enjoying reading the other posts and looking where all the other teams are from.
Lovin’ our #SMTPselfie
Just a quick note from a very proud teacher…….over the weekend some teenagers decided to rip down our caution tape and remove some poles from the tent. Some of our more local students made a point of checking on the tent every day. They saw what had happened, scoured the playground, found the parts and put the tent back together good as new. I am so proud of this group for their pride in ownership, dedication to this project and great sense of responsibility! Thank you 6’s! Mrs. Cochrane 🙂
The Grade 2/3 class at Cyril Varney Public School in Sudbury, Ontario is excited to be a part of the Malaise Trap Program. We started off our day today by exploring all the living things in our school yard and then after about an hour, the students captured over 8 different types of insects. Shortly after their discoveries, we had a couple of the grade 6’s help put up the tent. They had fun too! The kids were so intrigued that they were going to spend the weekend looking for bugs in their own backyard. Many of them said they wanted to bring them in on Monday to show the class. We look forward to reading blogs from other schools!
Found this guy while looking for a location for our trap!
We were talking about how milkweed is so important for monarch butterflies. While I pointed the plant out to my students, we discovered this one having an afternoon snack!
The grade 5/6 class has been exploring areas to set the Malaise Trap. Our school is located in one of the buildings at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph and we are lucky to have access to 240 hectares of land!
We scouted some areas and chose a location that would be close to the school so we can easily keep an eye on the trap. It is in an area that the students think will have a high insect biodiversity.
We are looking forward to deploying the Malaise Trap on Monday and we are glad the snow is gone!
The final count for St. Ignatius of Loyola for Week 2 reached about 40 insects (Level 1). Although our trap was taken down on Monday, we still have a few exciting reports: 1) a large dragonfly was the newest addition to our collection; 2) rabbit droppings were sighted beside the trap; 3) a black-and-orange caterpillar was seen on the trap; and 4) some white mushrooms are growing beside the trap… take a look!
The count is in the 30’s after a mid-week count yesterday at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Guelph. New additions include 2 ladybugs this time. We are happy to see some diversity! We are going to say goodbye to the trap tomorrow with the class by doing a photo shoot.
Meet Helix (the European Mantis)!
A few days ago, one of our collections technicians, Valerie, spotted a European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) while working in the Arboretum at the University of Guelph. Valerie is a fantastic photographer and has graciously shared some of her pictures of Helix with us.
As you can tell by his species name, Helix is native to Europe, Africa and Asia and was introduced to North America in 1899. The European Mantis is now found across Canada as well as throughout northern parts of the United States.
The European Mantis can live in a variety of habitats, but seems to prefer green growth and sunny areas by shrubbery or herbaceous plants.
Helix will prey on several different kinds of insects including moths, caterpillars, butterflies and bees. Here Helix is pictured munching on a cricket.
The European species comes in a wide variety of colours ranging from dark brown to bright green. Like all Mantids, the female is larger than the male, especially at the abdomen. Due to their size, females are unlikely to fly and will scare off predators by flaring their wings and raising their arms. After mating, females have been known to consume the male they reproduce with.
As the experiment has progressed over this first week the results have been disappointing. The first week bottle was removed and much to the participants surprise there was an incredible lack of biodiversity. This lack of a large sample size is extremely surprising because of the amount of plant matter in the courtyard. The trap was assessed on the second day to make sure any issues that may affect the experiment were taken care of. Spider webs were cleared off the bottle but even after that was taken care of the results were still lacking.
Though the lack of a large sample size is surprising an experiment conducted last year heeded some of the same results. Students made Sticky Traps last year to examine biodiversity in the courtyard and they too were surprised by the underwhelming numbers. They were especially surprised because a school nearby had great results.
This lack of biodiversity does make sense in comparison to the other high school because of a few reasons. For one thing the neighbouring school backs on to a river where Richview does not. Also Richview is situated by the intersection of two major streets where the other school is only bordered by one street. Since Richview is only one kilometre away from a golf course, the chemicals used to maintain those grounds may be affecting the biodiversity at the school.
This lack of biodiversity is concerning and should be continually monitored in the future.
I think the Malaise trap program is an awesome project. September 22 was our first day of the program. We walked from our school Evergreen Elementary School in Drayton Valley to our grade five teacher’s yard to look at the trap. When we got there we saw the trap and the bottle full of ethanol. We did not put the bottle on before we got there because it was the first day.
There are two grade five classes. And we were both going to the trap at separate times. We were the first class to go so there wouldn’t be any bugs in the bottle but the other grade five group might get some. When we put the bottle on, there was one small insect already flying around at the top of the bottle.
I think the next time we check the trap, a quarter of the bottle will be full.