Thursday 23rd April - Make a pitfall trap for insects

Would you like to find out what small creatures are crawling around your garden? Well now you can!

A pit fall trap is a simple device used to catch small animals - particularly insects and other invertebrates, that spend most of their time on the ground.

In its most basic form, it consists of a container buried so that the top is level with the surface of the ground. Any creatures that wander nearby may fall in. Any that can't escape by climbing, jumping or flying out will remain in the trap until you release them.

Find out how to make your own and get more ideas and help identifying your insects from the Natural History Museum or follow the instructions below, watch the video:

How to make a pitfall trap | Natural History Museum

Want to find out what small creatures are crawling around your garden? Follow our steps to set up a simple pitfall trap. Get top tips from our ecologist and ...
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How to make a pitfall trap

You will need:

  • a trowel
  • a yoghurt pot
  • a tray
  • ID guides (optional)
1. Choose a location for your trap on flat ground near vegetation.

2. Use a trowel to dig a small hole.

3. Place a clean yoghurt pot in the hole. Fill in any empty space around the pot with soil. Make sure that the top of the pot is level with the ground, or you won't catch anything.

4. Leave your trap overnight. If you prefer to leave it during the day, check it at least every few hours.

5. Empty the trap into a tray to see what creatures wandered in. Use ID guides (books, online resources or apps) to help you identify what kind of invertebrates they are.

6. Record your findings: make a note of what you caught, the date and location. You could also draw the creatures or take photographs.

7. Carefully release the creatures, returning them to a safe, sheltered place.

8. Return the area back to how you found it.