Scientists Pluck Insects Out of the Sky for Research


A suction trap (center) with several agricultural engineering students with the University of Chicago at Urbana-Champaign. (Photo by Doris Lagos-Kutz, ARS)

Glen Hartman and Doris Lagos-Kutz, two scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), are hard at work keeping nuisance insects out of the air across the United States. They have developed a 20-foot-tall suction trap, driven by fans, to remove these pests straight from the air.

The traps draw in air at a rate that is also strong enough to suck in the insects, and then they preserve them using a solution inside a plastic jar. This solution is used to further research into the species’ distribution and migration patterns.

In the future, Hartman and Lagos-Kutz believe the use of these traps can broaden scientists’ understanding of how certain conditions impact insect populations and what role humans play in the environment.  For more information on this research, read the full article here.