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Beetle bait/trapping?


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I'd like to capture myself some interesting beetles to hopefully keep as pets. I'm in Central Texas. I've found parts of dead ox beetles across the street, and a fairly nice pair of dead Eastern hercules beetles about five miles away at a place that sprays pesticides on everything, so I know those are local. I think we're also within the range of Western hercules beetles. There's also a semi-dying pecan tree in our yard with thumb-sized holes in the trunk, and some of the holes are fresh, so something is in there.\

I'm currently trying a bait that I read about on a specimen collection forum. One mushed banana and some cheap beer in a Ziploc bag, mushed together, and hung on a tree with holes poked in the bag so the mix can drip out. The idea is, the beetles smell the mix and come to eat, and hopefully get tipsy enough that they don't want to move very far. I'm going to go back after dark and check on things.

I've also read that various mixtures of sugar, molasses, cheap wine, and similar substances can be smeared on available surfaces to lure beetles in. I imagine there's gonna be a lot of wasps, but hopefully not as many after dark. Has anyone tried anything of the sort?

I've also tried a pitfall trap baited with a dead bird, in hopes of getting carrion eaters, just to see what we have in the area. All I got were ants.

Plus, I have a light trap in the works, using a blacklight for power. It's mostly gonna be for moths, but I might get some stuff to that.

I'm gonna make a preemptive bait check at dusk, in a couple of hours, and then a final gather-the-baits check after it's been dark for awhile. Will update with what I find. Hoping for big major beetles.



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Light traps at night can attract various nocturnal beetles. Instead of a dead bird, you could try using chicken liver instead of a dead bird and fresh dung and scat works well for dung beetles.

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You should have some good Rhinos and lots of dung beetles (depending on where you are in TX). The only beetles that I catch in fruit traps that I keep are flower beetles - but you are likely too late in the year to see much of any of these.


You should also have some nice ground beetles, ones that might actually still be active this time of year.


Best chance for any of the above would be a light rig -or- checking gas stations / parking lots at night.

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No interesting beetles on the baits. Lots of roaches and crickets, but nothing else. I think I might have had the wrong ratio of banana to beer? Might try this again in Spring.


Is there any way to get grubs out of standing dead trees? I can find big tunnels easily enough, and I assume at least some of them are occupied, but I can't seem to find any methods of extracting the grubs that aren't meant to kill them. Usually the only people trying to get beetle grubs out of trees are angry gardeners.


I'm working on a UV light trap right now, the box/funnel design with the light hung above it. Hoping to catch something neat. Are UV lights the best choice for beetles? Would prefer large species, but anything remotely interesting would be nice.


Will definitely check out gas station lights, we keep driving by one with some fairly large insects visible flying around the light. I can bring my net.


On that subject, what's the best way to transport beetles home? Single cups with a bit of wet paper towel? I want them for pets initially and then specimens after they die of old age, so I'd prefer they stay as undamaged as possible, which I assume means never putting males together.


It's still 80 degrees for the next few weeks, probably into at least mid-October, so we do have a little while left before it starts getting anywhere near cold. Crickets are doing their "swarm everywhere and chirp up a storm and then lay a gajillion eggs" thing.

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