7 July 1997
Volume 5: no. 4
Summer finally arrived and the cool weather (all of June) is just a memory. I get really pumped-up about collecting at camp every year. This one is no different, so the old light and sheet have been set up in my back yard since camp. I'm actually catching more beetles now that the warmer nighttime temperatures have arrived than we caught at camp. Camp was great! We had some newbies who really learned to chase bugs and a good group of returnee campers. There were 50 of us at Sardis for the week of June 1-5. The MSU Entomology Club came up on Monday and Tuesday to conduct the `1997 Insect Olympiad.' We had insect hopping contests, insect races, and numerous other activities. It was great, educational fun. We have already set the dates and locality for the 1998 camp. Our next 4-H Entomology Camp is set for June 7-11, 1998 at Percy Quinn State Park near McComb, MS. As in past years we had some folks from other states with us this year. There were campers from Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, as well as Mississippi. We'll be sharing some photographic scenes of this year's camp in subsequent pages of the Gloworm.
There are more than 17,000 species of butterflies occurring on all continents except Antarctica.
Lepidoptera - Greek word - lepis means scale and pteron which means wing. So these are insects covered by thousands of scales which give them unique patterns and colors.
butterflies are diurnal - they are active in the day time. Moths, also Lepidoptera, are nocturnal - active at night.
butterfly antennae are knobbed at the end, moth antennae are not knobbed.
Stages include egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa) and adult.
Adult butterflies feed mainly on nectar of flowers, but will also feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, fluids from animal carcasses, and mud puddles.
Fruit peels in a dish or sugar soaked in a sponge are ideal `artificial' feeding stations.
`Puddle clubs' are groups of butterflies, mostly young bachelor males which gather around mud puddles and other moist areas of soil to suck up salt and other minerals dissolved in water.
The ideal butterfly garden has a variety of plants which produce flowers for a nectar source throughout the season. Larval host plants are also helpful in attracting butterflies.
Collecting time is here!
Since summer is an ideal time to attract butterflies, it is also an ideal time to collect Lepidoptera. Remember never to take more than you can use! The flowering plants which attract butterflies are good areas to look for collecting. A net is almost a necessity when butterflies and other flying insects are being collected. Nets can easily be constructed using a broom handle or 3/4" dowel, and a clothes hanger (heavier wire is preferred, but not necessary) along with a small amount of muslin or `tulle.' We like the `tulle' at our house because you can see through it and it is plentiful since my wife sews on wedding dresses all the time. Follow the directions as shown below. Be sure that the mouth of the net is at least 10" in diameter. It is also necessary that a good wide mouthed killing jar be used. There may be a need for more than one in your collecting kit. Keep the jar clean, and keep a supply of paper towels or tissue in the jar. Never put beetles in the jar with butterflies or moths. Moths and butterflies should be paralyzed before placing them in the kill jar. To paralyze the insect fold its wings up over its body and hold it at the juncture of the wings to the body between your thumb and forefinger. Press firmly at this point, then place the insect in the kill jar. Butterflies and moths should be processed as quickly after collection as possible, but certainly should be removed from the killjar and stored for safe keeping within day after collection. Butterflies may be stored indefinitely in paper folds, then relaxed and pinned. Date and locality information should accompany any collected specimen through the entire process.
Hope you enjoy the pictures!
Pictures from Entomology Camp 97
MAKING AN INSECT NET
NET - The net is used to catch those insects which fly or move very rapidly. It is essentially a cloth bag, hung from a hoop that is attached to a handle.
Nets may be of two types: the general purpose net and the sweep net. The material you use to make your net will depend upon which type it is to be. The general purpose type is sometimes referred to as a butterfly or aerial net, and it is the one that you will make and use.
To make this type of net you will need the following items:
1. A wooden handle, 3 to 4 feet long
2. Four feet of number 12 steel wire
3.Two pieces of marquisette or nylon chiffon 22-1/2 x 40 inches. Other material that can be used is a light-weight, unbleached muslin.
4. Good, heavy-duty, duct tape
You can make the handle from an old mop or broom. Remove the old head, and cut a groove along two opposite sides of the handle, starting the grooves from the cut end. One should be 3-1/2 inches long, and the other should be 2-1/1 inches long. Drill a small hole about one fourth inch deep at the upper end of each groove.
Next, bend the wire into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Leave enough wire on each end to make an arm - a 2-1/2 inch long arm on one side and a 3-1/2 inch long arm on the other side. These lengths correspond to the lengths of the grooves on the handle. Also, two smal hooks, about one-fourth inch long, should be make at the ends of the wire. These hooks will fit into the holes you have drilled into the groove on the handle.
To construct the net bag, fold two pieces of 22-1.2 x 40 inch material to 11-1/4 x 40 inches. Cut through the material from the right bottom folded corner diagonally up and across
to a point 10 inches from the top left unfolded corner. The materail be in two roughly triangular pieces.
With wrong sides together, stitch the two big pieces of material along the cut edges, using a 3/4-inch seam allowance. Leave 10 inches free on one side at the top to make a casing where the wire hoop will be inserted. Turn the cut edges inside and stitch the seam down flat (flat-felled seam). To make a casing for the wire hoop, fold the top edge down 5 inches and stitch lower edge in place.
If marquisette or nylong chiffon is used, the side seam and the top casing should be reinforced. To reinforce side seam, use cotton twill tape when stitching. To reinforce casing, underline the 10 inches at bag top with a strip of muslin (cut 10" x 43-1/2"). Then make casing as previously instructed.
You are now ready to put the bag on the hoop. Do this by slowly threading the wire hoop through the casing until the bag is completely supported by the wire. Attach the wire hoop to the handle by fitting the arms of the hoop into the grooves of the handle. Be sure that the hooks are properly fitted into the drilled holes. Wrap the tape tightly around the handle, securing the wire arms of the hoop to the handle.
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837