Tag Archives: insects

Students at EDHS set a trap… for science!


The students at Elmvale District High School are excited to be a part of the School Malaise Trap Program. Our rural high school is in Elmvale, a small town north of Barrie, ON. We are lucky enough to have a stretch of the Wye River meander through school property, found close to the headwaters of the river. The river ultimately passes though the Wye Marsh in Midland and enters Georgian Bay. Last year, students in the environmental science class began the Wye River Rehabilitation project. During the semester, the students cleaned out the river. The planted trees and shrubs to stabilize the river banks and add important trees to the riparian ecosystem. The students also planted wildflower and native grasses to help improve the biodiversity along the river.

This year, the Grade 11 Biology class has set up the Malaise trap in a field above the river. This area is frequented by flying insects that travel along the river. We are excited to see what the trap catches. We are eager to contribute to the scientific knowledge that be acquired from the project. We cannot wait to see what the University of Guelph does with our collected insects.

Wind, wind, go away.

It sure has been windy the past few days at Wellington Hall Academy in Guelph, ON! The Malaise Trap needs minor adjustments daily. Since the wind is blowing so hard and the ground is so soft, the guy ropes and pegs are being moved around a lot and today, the pegs were pulled out of the ground due to the big gusts.
We hope that it stops snowing and the temperatures warm up a bit. Despite the cold, we have collected a number of insects. The forecast next week looks to be warmer! Happy collecting everyone!

Ready, set, trap!

The 6S class went out Thursday morning to set the trap and have it ready to catch Monday morning. Here is a picture of the class, proudly showing off their trap and here’s what they had to say about it:

École Précieux-Sang does a goofy pose in front of their Malaise trap.
École Précieux-Sang does a goofy pose in front of their Malaise trap.

Today we set up our trap. It was really fun and we all got to put a peg into the ground. It was really fun to take silly pictures to post on the blog. It was also very nice of BIO to throw in a few little things like little pins, bookmarks, pencils, erasers and a bag.

-Maya Freynet 6S

I was happy when we put the trap up this morning because I’m so excited for this project. It was fun to put up the trap because my whole class worked as a team and we got to go outside to put the trap up. I think we put the trap in a good spot because it is in a garden so the flies might be more attracted to it.

-Caleb Dupras 6S

This morning, we set up the Malaise trap in the garden of the daycare yard. I think we are going to catch lots of bugs because we put the trap in the garden.

-Jérémie Chappellaz 6S

HI! Manitoba is a lovely place! I hope we find weird and cool insects! We already put up our trap. I was really fun. We took some funny pictures! We put our trap close to a tree so maybe the insects from the tree will go in it. I wonder if we can name any new insects we might find…

-Isabelle Sorin 6S

Wellington Hall Academy is Getting Ready!

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!


Thoughts from a few Précieux-Sang students

As we get ready to set up our Malaise trap tomorrow morning, our 6th grade students are anxious to see what kind of creatures we will catch over the next two weeks. Here are some thoughts from a few of our students:

My thinking for this project is that we’re going to have a lot of fun but it will be weird at the same time. I hope we catch a lot of bugs and maybe even some rare ones!  I’m really excited for this project. Here in Winnipeg, it’s pretty warm and I guess we’re gonna get a lot of creepy crawlies!

-Saeed Saeed, 6M

Hey! We’re from Manitoba and we want to say hello and wish you good luck. We are so glad to be having this experience with a bunch of schools across the country. What if we find some poisonous spiders or scorpions? The experience seems fun and we hope we will do well!

-Gabriel Laplante, 6M

I think there will be a lot of flies – but they might be ones that aren’t discovered yet!. We are all excited about this activity because we want to know if there will be cool insects in the trap.

-Zacharie Bouchard, 6S

I can’t wait to get started on this project! I think it’s going to be really fun because we get to catch insects we might have never seen before. I wonder what kind of insects we’re going to find – probably a lot of flies and common flying bugs. I don’t think we will get a grasshopper – it’s not the right time of the year for them.

-Nastassja Loiselle, 6S


Workshop: It’s a Malaise Trap!

Workshop: It’s a Malaise Trap!

Exploring Insect Identification and Trapping Methods

Date: Wednesday, March 25th/2015                  Time: 9:00am-3:00pm

Why Insects?

Outdoor educators have always known that insects are amazing classroom study organisms! They are easy to collect and have a fascinating array of life histories. Insects are also important indicators of ecosystem health and are an integral part of every park, schoolyard and habitat surrounding us. Come  enhance your knowledge of the world of insects with us at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO)!

What you will learn!

PicMonkey Collage1

This workshop is specially designed to teach outdoor educators about the Malaise trap, a tent-like apparatus used for the collection of flying insects, as well as insect identificationclassification, and DNA barcoding through hands-on activities and professional training. Biodiversity has become exceedingly important in our changing world and BIO’s experts will provide all of the necessary tools required for enhancing your outdoor education programs through the scientific exploration of insects and inquiry-based activities. Furthermore, participants will be introduced to specialized public programs offered by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and will receive several resources to take home.

The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph is an institute dedicated to the study of biodiversity, particularly at the species level. BIO is also the birthplace of DNA barcoding, whereby short, standardized gene sequences are used to accelerate species discovery and identification. BIO is home to several world-class biodiversity experts and entomologists who are eager to share their knowledge with you!

Workshop Information


Enrollment is limited to 30 participants.
Pre-registration is required

Registration Deadline: Friday, March 13th/2015

Registration fee is $50.00 +HST. (Please make cheques payable to The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario)

Date: Wednesday, March 25th/2015
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm
*Light breakfast, snack & coffee/tea provided (Please inform us of any dietary restrictions)*
Lunch: Available for purchase on campus

The Biodiversity institute of Ontario
University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd. East
Guelph, ON. N1G 2W1

Contact Vanessa Breton
P: 519-824-4120 x 58125
E: bretonv@uoguelph.ca

“Why We Kill Bugs – The Case For Collecting Insects” – Greg R. Pohl

An array of pinned specimens ready to be sampled for DNA barcoding
An array of pinned specimens ready to be sampled for DNA barcoding

One of the main questions that we receive from educators who are participating in the School Malaise Trap Program is “how do I discuss the ethics of insect collection and study with my students?” This is an excellent question which we are hoping to address during this blog post.


Upon researching this topic, we came across an excellent resource titled “Why We Kill Bugs – The Case For Collecting Insects” by Greg R. Pohl. In his work, Pohl outlines several reasons as to why insect populations are resilient to collecting. Furthermore, he discusses the necessity of collecting insects for a range of purposes including taxonomy and diagnostics. He also takes the time to discuss insect conservation, the difference between insects and other animals, and the extensive need for both “amateur” and “professional” insect collectors.

His work speaks to the many ethical questions surrounding the collection and study of insects during the School Malaise Trap Program. We hope that this paper will assist you while facilitating this important discussion with your students!

Why We Kill Bugs – The Case For Collecting Insects (PDF)



Standardized Sampling at its Finest!

Take a look at how the BIObus crew sets up a site for Standardized Sampling! This was taken at a rainforest site in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 2014. Watch Kate, Joey, Graham, and Danielle deploy a Malaise trap, flight intercept trap, pan traps, and pitfall traps before finally sweep netting the area for 5 minutes and settling down to aspirate all the insects.

Samples are Arriving at BIO!

Hello School Malaise Trap Program Participants!

We are happy to say that we have received almost all of your Malaise trap samples for the Fall 2014 program! The rest of the samples are on their way, and we can’t wait to see what you have all collected.

Once your samples arrive at BIO, they go straight to our Collections unit, where they will be sorted by insect Order. As you can see from the photo below, this can be quite a long and meticulous process.


Stay tuned for an update from our Collections unit soon!