Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

A "malaise trap" for the long-term monitoring of flying insects was installed in Ramat Hanadiv LTER site

24 July 2021

Country: Israel

eLTER platform: Ramat Hanadiv LTSER Platform

Connected to the edge of the trap is an inverted bottle that traps flies, mosquitoes, moths, and other flying insects. The insects are weighed, identified by experts, and preserved in Israel’s National Nature Collections. The trap is resistant to weather hazards, including the strong winds that blow through the region now and then, and has been fenced by the staff of Ramat Hanadiv to protect it from wildlife damage. The large-holed netting stretched over the mouth of the trap prevents the entrance of large flying animals such as birds, bats, or dragonflies, which are not part of this study.

In 2017, a paper published by a group of German researchers caused deep concern among ecologists and nature conservationists throughout the world. The researchers found that in the last 27 years there was a 76% decrease in the total flying insects' biomass in Germany, a phenomenon defined as no less than an “insect apocalypse” since the collapse of insect populations and communities threatens the entire ecosystem. Following the publication, a national, long-term monitoring program was established, led by the Entomology Lab for Applied Ecology at the Steinhardt Museum, Tel Aviv University, which conducts studies on insect conservation.

In addition to its importance at a national level, the information collected over the long term will also increase our familiarity with the local world of insects at the Ramat Hanadiv LTER site and the ways it can be protected.

Photo: The “malaise trap” in Ramat Hanadiv, Israel