Commode Collecting

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Tue Jan 15 15:59:09 EST 2002

Some people have all the luck.  We visited an outhouse in Guanacoste,
Costa Rica where the entire bowl was filled with Africanized bees
attracted to the water. 

I was always admonished that outhouse seats were a favorite habitat for
Black Widow spiders. I can't verify this personally.  

Michael Gochfeld

Robert Thorn wrote:
> On 1/14/02 3:48 PM, "Mark Walker" <MWalker at> wrote:
>      Ron asked the perfect question for lightening up the winter
>      doldrums.
>      Some of my greatest and fondest childhood collecting was
>      accomplished in Barton Flats in the San Bernardino mountains
>      of Southern California, circa 1968 - at a lighted outhouse.
>       We camped there often, and Arctiid, Sphingid, and Geometrid
>      moths were favorites (sorry Leroy, at that time a Schinia
>      was part of my leg) - it's no wonder that a child can take
>      such an interest in insect collecting.  Perhaps it was Ron
>      that said that he was first attracted to moths as a child.
>       For me, it was wasps and bees - but the fascinating moths
>      that showed up at that outhouse light were clearly
>      responsible for much of my disease.  There were also many
>      beetles.
>      Of course, as a child - who cared who might be busy using
>      the facilities.  That was a non issue for a kid  - except
>      for the gender sign.  I do recall being rather discouraged
>      when a particularly nice looking bug went over to the
>      'other' side.  Strictly taboo to even consider violating
>      that rule.  Today - I'm not so sure...
>      More recently, my son and I took a couple of moths from the
>      lighted honeybuckets at the lower campground in Garden
>      Canyon, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.  Yep - commode collecting can
>      be very good (it's all a matter of perspective).
>      Mark Walker.
>      This is exactly what I admire about Mark’s postings:
>      unabashed enthusiasm, and a literate ability to recreate
>      experiences that we all have shared to one degree or
>      another.
>      I’ve always noted the propensity of outhouses to attract
>      good bugs, or as an associate once put it, “all the good sh—
>      in one convenient place.”   My appreciation, though, was
>      raised a notch here in Ohio when we visited campgrounds at
>      several of the State parks in the forested southern portion
>      of the state.  If you chose the non-electrical portions of
>      the campground, not only were competing lights reduced, but
>      the outhouses were composting type.  The odor & the lights
>      proved far superior to any light traps or bait lines that I
>      could muster.  Their production was so fantastic that my
>      daughter & son, normally uninterested in bugs, couldn’t wait
>      to show me some new creature they had found around the
>      restroom.  It seems truly ironic that a virtual cesspool, in
>      the right context, might stimulate new generations of
>      biologists.
>      Rob Thorn, Gahanna, OH


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