We put our Malaise trap up on Monday, September 22. The insects will fly right up to the top of the trap and there is a hole at the top and the bottle is attached to the hole.
There is ethanol in this bottle so the insects get trapped in the bottle and die.
On Friday, September 26, we took it down to see how many insects we have caught.
The ethanol in the bottle, believe it or not, actually changed colours!!! It was sort of a brownish colour instead of being clear. Most of the bugs were dead at the bottom of the bottle along with some floating insects. The floating insects looked like they were swimming. I think it’s because they just got in the bottle over night so they are probably just making their way down.
Today, September 29, we went back to the location where we have set up the Malaise Trap. Because the cloud coverage was only about 3%, I thought we wouldn’t catch many bugs. Usually there are insects flying in my face every day. But today there were no insects in the air. That’s why I predicted we wouldn’t catch lots of insects today! We found 2 ladybugs around the tent though, so maybe we will catch some crawling critters, such as: ladybugs, spiders, or maybe even beetles. Because those bugs can crawl up the net right into the bottle, as they look for shelter when the weather is rainy.
On September 22 our grade five class took a five minute walk from Evergreen Elementary School to our science teacher’s yard to attach the ethanol to the trap.
The trap was bigger than I thought.
We use ethanol to preserve the insects. It is important how we handle it because ethanol is very dangerous, poisonous and flammable. If we didn’t use ethanol the insects would naturally dissolve or decompose, and the research biologists wouldn’t be able to take a good enough tissue sample.
We were the first class to attach it. Because of that there were no insects. Yet there was one that had found it’s way into the top bottle.
I think it is a very clever program. I find it very intriguing and interesting, especially because the DNA barcodes can be used to prevent fish fraud!
The trap has two shades – black and white. In the middle there is a net to keep insects from flying through the middle and getting away. The roof goes up in one spot and there is a hole that is bright like the sun so they fly for it and fall into a tube filled with ethanol. The ethanol is used to preserve the insects.
On September 22 we went to Miss Manacom’s back yard to see our Malaise Trap. We recorded the daily high temperature, cloud cover and catch volume.
These records are important because then it will give us better understandings of how the weather affects the insects. For example: if it was snowing then not many bugs would be out. In that case, if it is super sunny it will be good bug catching weather.
There are two bottles of ethanol; the first one is for week one and the second one is for week two so we can see if there is a difference of the bugs.
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.
Grade Five students at Evergreen Elementary School in Drayton Valley have begun their study of biodiversity within Canadian ecosystems.
On September 18, as an art project before deploying the trap, we made DNA barcodes of ourselves! Students made a list of their personal and physical qualities, such as strength, kindness, courage, flexibility, and gave each of their characteristics a colour. Using their chosen colours, they created a barcode to show their unique self.
The art project helped us to gain a better understanding of DNA barcoding, and it was a fun way to show who were are.