Collecting insects

There are many methods for collecting insects, most of which involve simple apparatus.

The key to successful collecting is getting the timing right. Insect collecting is a seasonal business and the best time is during the warmer months from September to April.
Where and when you look depends on the types of insects you wish to catch. For example,

  • flowers for bees and butterflies during the day,
  • freshwater ponds and streams for dragonflies, caddisflies and mayflies during the day,
  • cow paddocks for dung beetles,
  • leaf litter for ants,
  • around bright lights for moths at night.

What collecting methods you use will also depend on whether the insects are active during the day or night. Traps are a good way of catching lots of insects with a small amount of effort as they can be set up and left for long periods of time provided an appropriate preservation fluid is used.
Specialised insect collecting equipment can be ordered through Australian Entomological Supplies.

Methods of Insect Collection (322 KB) pdf document icon (PDF 325KB)

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