James J. Kruse kruse at
Tue May 20 13:54:26 EDT 1997

On Mon, 19 May 1997 Jungletour at AOL.COM wrote:

> I have worked extensively with different baits for attracting butterflies in
> the South American tropics but I have only used a white sheet and mercury
> vapor light for attracting moths. Is the sugaring mixture used in conjunction
> with a black/mercury vapor light and how is it best applied?

I have used the sugaring mixture within eyeshot of lights, and am often
amazed at what a difference there is between what is at the light and what
is at the bait. Mercury lights tend to overpower the effect of bait.  I
often use bait as an alternative to light set ups at time of the full
moon, when lights are not very productive anyway.  I use a 3 inch wide
paint brush and lay 3 or 4 strokes on each tree adjacent to a path or deer
trail at dusk.  I usually wait an hour and then make several rounds with a
flashlight wrapped in red cellophane.  This is less glaring, and red light
supposedly is less visible(?) anyhow, it works.  

> Also, the recipes mentioned in recent posts appear to contain excellent
> ingredients for attracting neotropical butterflies. Have you used either of
> these baits for this purpose? Are beetles attracted to the baits as well?

The main target with bait (for me anyhow) are Noctuids.  I have attracted
good numbers of Coleoptera though, especially Silphidae, Nitidulidae,
Tenebrionidae, Carabidae, and certain Scarabaeids.  I have used the
mixture in Japan, where I got some good Noctuids, but during the day there
were LOTS of Nymphalid butterflies.

A good trick for butterfly counts is to spread this mixture on tree trunks
in a wooded area and check later in the day.  It works great for Polygonia
butterflies that are usually underrepresented on the counts, and tough to
catch otherwise. It also brings in Vanessa, and probably other stuff in
the south.
> I will be leading a group of people to the Peruvian Amazon on a natural
> history tour and as one of the many interesting activities, I would like to
> get the group involved in utilizing a variety of baits and we will be keeping
> detailed records on the insect activity at each baiting site. For anyone

Thats a great idea.  I used to lead night hikes at a nature center I
worked for and spread bait on trees beforehand so that we could look at
moths on the hike. I did a summer camp where the kids mixed different
fruits into the ingredients.  That night it remained in the high 70's(F)
and every tree was swamped with moths, so it wasn't as interesting as it
could have been.

Jim Kruse
University of California at Berkeley
Dept. of Environ Sci, Policy and Mgmt.
Div. of Insect Biology
Sperling Lab
201 Wellman Hall
Berkeley, California, 94720-3113
(510) 642-5114

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