A comparison of live versus kill pitfall trapping techniques using various killing agents

Ronald D. Weeks, Nancy E. McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We compared the efficacies of two arthropod pitfall trapping techniques: live (dry) trapping and kill trapping with three killing agents (water, ethylene glycol, and the recently developed propylene glycol, whose efficacy has not been previously assessed). Kill pitfall traps caught more species than did live pitfalls. Forty one species were collected only from kill traps (3 being unique to water, 11 to ethylene glycol, and 8 to propylene glycol). 12 were collected only from live traps, and 32 were collected from both kill and live traps. The same average number of individuals per species was caught for most of those taxa that were collected in both trap types, indicating that better retention of captured arthropods by the killing agent was not responsible for the differences observed in the two pitfall trapping methods. There were no significant differences in captures between propylene and ethylene glycol traps or between water and live traps. Because of species-specific differences in the efficiencies of live and kill pitfall trapping, cross-study entomological comparisons made using kill pitfall trapping and live pitfalling may be confounded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • arthropod collecting
  • ethylene glycol
  • kill trapping
  • live trapping
  • pitfall trapping
  • propylene glycol
  • water


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