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Novel (Amusing) Insect Sampling Technique Reported in Britain

July 2, 2003

Suzanne Bissonnette, Extension IPM educator, Champaign Extension Center, recently sent me an interesting (and somewhat amusing) article concerning some insect sampling efforts being conducted in Britain by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This society is concerned over what they perceive as a decline in Britain's overall insect population. So they intend to organize an insect survey effort next summer with the cooperation of 100,000 to 200,000 cooperators who will utilize "splatometers." In essence, participants will be asked to position a square piece of flypaper on their windshields. Let's hope the size of the flypaper does not obscure the vision of the insect surveyors. No further details were outlined in this sketchy Web-based report. Questions quickly come to mind: How far will the participants be asked to drive? Will they be asked to drive during certain times of the day (night)? Will the drivers be asked to maintain certain speeds? How often will fresh pieces of flypaper be required? Grahame Madge, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, was quoted: "If you can get 100,000 people taking part, that's probably equivalent to several entomologists' life work and obviously gives you the data very quickly." I'm not sure how to react to this quote--my life's work being equated to 100,000 sheets of flypaper on windshields. All kidding aside, from time to time, Kevin Steffey and I have discussed the so-called windshield splatter technique that can be used to determine the intensity of European corn borer flights. We look forward to the results from this interesting British survey.--Mike Gray

Radiator sampling technique for European corn borer moths.

Author: Mike Gray

The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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