Here in Menifee, CA it was blazing hot Monday morning when we put up the Malaise trap but then the clouds came rushing in. By the late afternoon a wind storm had hit and it was blowing our Malaise trap around. It rained through Tuesday and Wednesday and finally cleared up on Thursday. Today it was a pleasant 30C with no wind. We didn’t collect many insects this week, possibly because of the wind and rain, but we did catch a huge moth. I’m looking forward to next week and I hope the weather continues to be nice so that we can catch many more insects then.
Great news! Our trap did NOT blow over. It just looked like it had blown over from a distance. We went and checked on it today and it’s fine. We still put the stronger stakes and we already had some insects in the alcohol. The insects seem to be larger than the ones that we have gotten in the past. Here are some pictures of the intact trap and some of the insects that we caught.
Below is a photo that we took on our way home from school. As you can see way off in the distance, part of the trap fell down in strong winds. Because we are collecting on a nature reserve, the tarp is behind locked gates and we won’t be able to fix it until the next morning.
Now, it’s the next morning and it’s raining. We’re in such a drought that we haven’t had rain in a long, long time and it picked a really bad time to come back. As soon as the reserve management says that we can go in, we bought new stakes to replace the aluminum ones and we’re sure that this will take care of our issue.
Our school has been preparing for this project for some time now. We have been working with an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside and a biology professor at Mt. San Jacinto College to learn to use the trap, sort the insects, ID the insects, and collect DNA from the insects since the beginning of the summer. This School Malaise Trap Collection will be one part of a bigger project for us that we hope to publish in a journal eventually.
We started blogging about our adventures on a separate blog site. As the project goes along, we will continue putting detailed blogs on the other site about our overall project and we’ll post updates about this specific part of the project on this blog.