...watch your step
Yesterday at dusk, I set up a pitfall trap. No I'm not hunting stray tigers, not even Tasmanian tigers. The use of pitfall traps is a common way surveying for ground dwelling beetles. I've had some success with them in Scotland and for some time now I've been meaning to place a few up the hill in the backyard.
While there are all sorts of interesting designs out their I have simply used the humble baked been tin. It was buried so that the rim is at ground level. It is placed alongside a log, the theory being a beetle will be merrily walking along following the edge of the log and whistling 'The Road to Gundagai' until suddenly it stumbles into the trap.
Was it a success? Well there was one one beetle in the trap this morning. So, on current averages one could speculate that 5 traps might produce 5 beetles a night or 150 beetles per month :-) Of course you wouldn't want to put the trap out on a rainy night as the beetles will surely drown.
I will definitely set up another couple of traps, maybe just once a week or so. The main thing that may hold me up is the thought of eating more beans.
The beetle from last night belongs to the family Carabidae, known as Ground Beetles. These are the most likely catch in such a trap. The Catalogue of the Insects of Tasmania list 223 Carabids from 20 subfamilies.