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Hey guys I am going to take a trip down south this summer as a high school grad thing (from Michigan), and I'm looking to setup a light trap with a 240-400 watt MVP and a 15-40 watt black light. I am debating whether to use a car battery or a generator, and if I were to use a generator what to use, since I am hoping to spend less than 200 USD on the generator. Thanks for your input!

P.S. If you have any tips or locations I should visit please share, I am driving down to FL and stopping for 7 stops in state parks and national forests. 

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I prefer to use batteries because they are easier to carry than most generators. However, I tend to run small cheap lights. Some collectors swear that the more powerful the setup, the more plentiful the catch... There is probably truth to that, but since most of that gear is out of my price range I couldn't tell you if it is worth it.

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37 minutes ago, Bugboy3092 said:

Don’t have any advice for light traps, but Georgia is probably the best place to take a stop if you’re looking for large beetles

How long can you run your light with a car battery? 

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If you are going run something as large as 400 watts, you will most likely need a generator. You could run it off your car battery with an inverter but then you'll need to keep the car running, which isn't the most efficient. The high end of generators are Honda generators but those run about $900 for a 1000 watt unit. There are cheaper generators at places like Harbor Freight but they are pretty loud. But they are cheap and I have friends who use them. They are about $130. You could also run a few 15 watt black lights and use light weight gel cells that are used for motorcycles and those are only about $20 each for an 8 ah battery. 

https://www.harborfreight.com/900-watt-max-starting-2-cycle-gas-powered-generator-epacarb-63025.html

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1 hour ago, Garin said:

If you are going run something as large as 400 watts, you will most likely need a generator. You could run it off your car battery with an inverter but then you'll need to keep the car running, which isn't the most efficient. The high end of generators are Honda generators but those run about $900 for a 1000 watt unit. There are cheaper generators at places like Harbor Freight but they are pretty loud. But they are cheap and I have friends who use them. They are about $130. You could also run a few 15 watt black lights and use light weight gel cells that are used for motorcycles and those are only about $20 each for an 8 ah battery. 

https://www.harborfreight.com/900-watt-max-starting-2-cycle-gas-powered-generator-epacarb-63025.html

How long can the light weight gel cells run the black lights for? I am considering it as a backup. Thanks!

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I use 8 ah gel cells that weigh about 5 lbs. They will run a 15 watt black light for about 5 hours. The advantage of these portable setups is that you can setup many of them in various areas. You can also put them in areas where you can't easily bring a heavy generator. So you can put one in a dry river bed, one in a small canyon, one in an area further up the road at a higher elevation, etc. It's pretty nice. 

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11 hours ago, Garin said:

@GarinI use 8 ah gel cells that weigh about 5 lbs. They will run a 15 watt black light for about 5 hours. The advantage of these portable setups is that you can setup many of them in various areas. You can also put them in areas where you can't easily bring a heavy generator. So you can put one in a dry river bed, one in a small canyon, one in an area further up the road at a higher elevation, etc. It's pretty nice. 

Thanks for the info. Do you have any recommendations of where to buy the gel cell from, and where to buy the blacklight? Are they effective for getting larger beetle species? Thank you so much. 

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These are the batteries that I buy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KAEZ6H8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The easiest and very high quality is good ole Bioquip black lights. Used by thousands of collectors for many years. https://www.bioquip.com/secure/shopping_cart.asp?action=1&qty=1&catalog_number=2805  Just put the clips on the gel cell and you are ready to go.

A pretty cool setup that I learned from a retired biologist who has collected many rare specimens of beetles is this: You buy an older fluorescent Coleman lantern and replace the bulbs with black light bulbs. Now you have a 12 watt portable black light setup all ready to go. They no longer make these Coleman lanterns but you can buy them used off Ebay for about $25. Then you can buy 6 watt black light bulbs from various bulb places online (the lantern uses 2). These lanterns run off of 2 6v lantern batteries. There are places you can buy rechargeable 6V lantern batteries or you can buy cheap 6V non rechargeable batteries from Walmart. I think 2 for $5. Or, what I have done, there is a port on the side that you can connect to a 12 V gel cell like the one above. He has been collecting for over 30 years and his collection is pretty amazing and he has pretty much only used these lanterns when he goes collecting. He has about 15 of them, so he sets up 15 in various spots. When he collect Dynastes grantii in AZ, he goes to the gas station lights that have HID lights and doesn't use the black lights, I'll explain later.

I use a 400 watt metal halide setup plus about 10 portable black lights. The only beetle species that I know of that doesn't seem to be that attracted to the portable black light vs the Metal Halide or Mercury Vapor light is Dynastes granti. I will get about 2 D grantii at a black light but sometimes 50 D grantii at the 400 watt HID on the same night at the same location. Its sort of strange. But I can't think of anything else but I only really collect in AZ and CA so in your area there could be other species that more attracted to HID vs black light. I'm not a moth guy but it appears like a lot more moths comes to the HID lights. However, you will also find that some species are more attracted to regular white fluorescent bulbs vs black light bulbs. He will often use both in a Coleman lantern, 1 black light and 1 regular white light. I know these moth guys that have these amazing setups, 1000 watt HID bulb on a 10 ft pole, 400 watt HID at about 5 ft. a few blacklight tubes hanging from the sheet, a few white fluorescent light tubes hanging from the sheet and a few of the darker black light bulbs. Then they spend 2 hours setting up portable black lights all over the area and sometimes at various elevations up and down the road. Too much work for me, haha.

Coleman lantern on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-COLEMAN-LANTERN-MODEL-5355-P-N-5355H700/401246377827?epid=1322373059&hash=item5d6c25d763:g:09EAAOSwImRYWZZ6

The black light bulbs:

https://www.soslightbulbs.com/product/commercial-fluorescent/ushio-f6t5bl-6w-9-fluorescent-black-light/

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Garin said:

@GarinThese are the batteries that I buy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KAEZ6H8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The easiest and very high quality is good ole Bioquip black lights. Used by thousands of collectors for many years. https://www.bioquip.com/secure/shopping_cart.asp?action=1&qty=1&catalog_number=2805  Just put the clips on the gel cell and you are ready to go.

A pretty cool setup that I learned from a retired biologist who has collected many rare specimens of beetles is this: You buy an older fluorescent Coleman lantern and replace the bulbs with black light bulbs. Now you have a 12 watt portable black light setup all ready to go. They no longer make these Coleman lanterns but you can buy them used off Ebay for about $25. Then you can buy 6 watt black light bulbs from various bulb places online (the lantern uses 2). These lanterns run off of 2 6v lantern batteries. There are places you can buy rechargeable 6V lantern batteries or you can buy cheap 6V non rechargeable batteries from Walmart. I think 2 for $5. Or, what I have done, there is a port on the side that you can connect to a 12 V gel cell like the one above. He has been collecting for over 30 years and his collection is pretty amazing and he has pretty much only used these lanterns when he goes collecting. He has about 15 of them, so he sets up 15 in various spots. When he collect Dynastes grantii in AZ, he goes to the gas station lights that have HID lights and doesn't use the black lights, I'll explain later.

I use a 400 watt metal halide setup plus about 10 portable black lights. The only beetle species that I know of that doesn't seem to be that attracted to the portable black light vs the Metal Halide or Mercury Vapor light is Dynastes granti. I will get about 2 D grantii at a black light but sometimes 50 D grantii at the 400 watt HID on the same night at the same location. Its sort of strange. But I can't think of anything else but I only really collect in AZ and CA so in your area there could be other species that more attracted to HID vs black light. I'm not a moth guy but it appears like a lot more moths comes to the HID lights. However, you will also find that some species are more attracted to regular white fluorescent bulbs vs black light bulbs. He will often use both in a Coleman lantern, 1 black light and 1 regular white light. I know these moth guys that have these amazing setups, 1000 watt HID bulb on a 10 ft pole, 400 watt HID at about 5 ft. a few blacklight tubes hanging from the sheet, a few white fluorescent light tubes hanging from the sheet and a few of the darker black light bulbs. Then they spend 2 hours setting up portable black lights all over the area and sometimes at various elevations up and down the road. Too much work for me, haha.

Coleman lantern on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-COLEMAN-LANTERN-MODEL-5355-P-N-5355H700/401246377827?epid=1322373059&hash=item5d6c25d763:g:09EAAOSwImRYWZZ6

The black light bulbs:

https://www.soslightbulbs.com/product/commercial-fluorescent/ushio-f6t5bl-6w-9-fluorescent-black-light/

 

 

 

Thank you so much for this information. I plan on getting a generator but along with this on the side. So I simply have to buy the two bottom links along with the gel cell and I'm set? That sounds great! I want to trap for D.tityus and L.elaphus and thus a powerful light source might be helpful. Do you have any info on what HID light you used? I have light trapped with universities and their MV trap always brought in a lot of stuff, while I tried last summer with a blacklight I borrowed from Michigan State University and not much showed up (although I only trapped in Michigan). 

By the way I got invited to a great beetle's discord a few day back https://discord.gg/kjdRHV. If you are interested you could join. 

Thank you again, and have a nice day!

 

 

 

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As Garin has suggested, you have to keep your car on all the time if you are to use a car battery. Or it won't last long enough, and your car will be dead out of nowhere.

If you are puchasing new unit of mercury vapor, no you cannot as a ballast for mercury vapor cannot be purchased anymore. You will have to purchase a ballast for metal halide (MH). If you are acquiring 175w MH, then you need 175w ballast as well (that sums up to 350w), then if you add blacklight (mine is 18w 24"), that will be 368w (if just one black light is added. I use three btw). SO you need about 400w power supplier is needed. I would at least suggest you to get something that can run your set up. But this wattage above is just the least things. when you collect in very, very dark environment, miles and miles away from any city/street lights.

DSC03492.jpg.cb01e148fd3da1e07741dcd005d074ec.jpg

My set up is: One 400w metal halide (with 400w mh ballast) + three 18w blacklights operated with Yamaha EF1000iS, and some other setups.

If you don't want all that expensive equipment, but you know where you will be collecting, and is completely dark, just go get a battery operated lanterns and light fixtures. That will do some work. I know a person who collected Lucanus elaphus with just battery operated lanterns. So I know such thing can work.

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5 minutes ago, JKim said:

@JKimAs Garin has suggested, you have to keep your car on all the time if you are to use a car battery. Or it won't last long enough, and your car will be dead out of nowhere.

If you are puchasing new unit of mercury vapor, no you cannot as a ballast for mercury vapor cannot be purchased anymore. You will have to purchase a ballast for metal halide (MH). If you are acquiring 175w MH, then you need 175w ballast as well (that sums up to 350w), then if you add blacklight (mine is 18w 24"), that will be 368w (if just one black light is added. I use three btw). SO you need about 400w power supplier is needed. I would at least suggest you to get something that can run your set up. But this wattage above is just the least things. when you collect in very, very dark environment, miles and miles away from any city/street lights.

 DSC03492.jpg.cb01e148fd3da1e07741dcd005d074ec.jpg

My set up is: One 400w metal halide (with 400w mh ballast) + three 18w blacklights operated with Yamaha EF1000iS, and some other setups.

If you don't want all that expensive equipment, but you know where you will be collecting, and is completely dark, just go get a battery operated lanterns and light fixtures. That will do some work. I know a person who collected Lucanus elaphus with just battery operated lanterns. So I know such thing can work.

I will go into the field of entomology professionally so I might as well buy a setup that can last me a while. Can you recommend me a place to buy the ballast and the bulb (400watt sounds good)? Would stuff from ace hardware work? As for the generator how much does noise level matter? (even if it's not with insect but with legal stuff) The car battery was if I were to just buy a car battery, with a 400 watt MV how long would it last? Thank you so much.

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20 minutes ago, JunkaiWangisme said:

I will go into the field of entomology professionally so I might as well buy a setup that can last me a while. Can you recommend me a place to buy the ballast and the bulb (400watt sounds good)? Would stuff from ace hardware work? As for the generator how much does noise level matter? (even if it's not with insect but with legal stuff) The car battery was if I were to just buy a car battery, with a 400 watt MV how long would it last? Thank you so much.

Noise does not matter with collecting insects, but yes, if it is TOO loud and if you are collecting nearby someone's house, yes, you will very likely be reported, and an officer who does not know the law very well will VERY likely stop you thinking you are doing illegal activity. You will ruin a day! It happens, and officers might let you go and let you do whatever, but sometimes, they will stop you.

Again, if you don't already own mercury vapor (mv) ballast, there is no way to obtain one. MV is no longer permitted to be used.

Here are couple Amazon items I can suggest. Not all of my equips are still available, so you can probably choose something similar to it:

Yamaha EF1000iS
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002RWK9LY/

Sylvania 400w Metal Halide bulbs
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZVSI3G/

Vivosun 400w Metal Halide Electronic Ballast
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016POA4XM/

mogul socket lamp with cord
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y78PNOE/

blacklight fixture (remove that purple tube, and throw away, it is a trash. it filters most of actual uv so it is worthless)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYF4S46/

blacklight tube replacement for above
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FZQ9HY4/

This is the lights you will need or something you can refer to when you find your own set ups.

I don't know what's the professional field of entomology you are going into (and since you are graduating from high school), but if it is the "college," you may not encounter much of beetles for your entire undergraduate years (in courses) unless you go to a school where scarab specialists work and working under him. Most entomology in undergraduate courses are focused on agriculture. So you will be studying IPM.

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31 minutes ago, JKim said:

@JKimNoise does not matter with collecting insects, but yes, if it is TOO loud and if you are collecting nearby someone's house, yes, you will very likely be reported, and an officer who does not know the law very well will VERY likely stop you thinking you are doing illegal activity. You will ruin a day! It happens, and officers might let you go and let you do whatever, but sometimes, they will stop you.

Again, if you don't already own mercury vapor (mv) ballast, there is no way to obtain one. MV is no longer permitted to be used.

Here are couple Amazon items I can suggest. Not all of my equips are still available, so you can probably choose something similar to it:

Yamaha EF1000iS
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002RWK9LY/

Sylvania 400w Metal Halide bulbs
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZVSI3G/

Vivosun 400w Metal Halide Electronic Ballast
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016POA4XM/

mogul socket lamp with cord
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y78PNOE/

blacklight fixture (remove that purple tube, and throw away, it is a trash. it filters most of actual uv so it is worthless)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYF4S46/

blacklight tube replacement for above
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FZQ9HY4/

This is the lights you will need or something you can refer to when you find your own set ups.

I don't know what's the professional field of entomology you are going into (and since you are graduating from high school), but if it is the "college," you may not encounter much of beetles for your entire undergraduate years (in courses) unless you go to a school where scarab specialists work and working under him. Most entomology in undergraduate courses are focused on agriculture. So you will be studying IPM.

I am going to University of Michigan :). I am going to major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology so yes, there will not be a lot of beetles involved. But I work with a bark beetle specialist from Michigan State University (professor there) and I have already described and published a species, acknowledged in other publications, and will be working on a new paper with him starting Monday on bostrichidae of michigan. I don't really want a specialized entomology degree from college but want to build up publications for grad school, so I can utilize other skills within entomology, which is the recommended course by the entomology professor. I don't really want to go to scarabs specifically, but simply within wood boring beetles. I have been into them since I'm four and thus is rather certain that entomology will be my future.

Thank you so much for the recommendation, I will check it all out! I am extremely bad with electronics so I hope this all works out!

By the way why is the 400 watt light paired with 600 watt ballast?

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My mistake. It has to be 400 watts ballast as well if you are using 400w light bulb. When you run lower wattage bulb with higher wattage ballast, your bulb very likely die (possibly burst out), and when you use higher wattage bulb with lower wattage ballast, the ballast will be damaged. Make sure you get the equal wattage bulb to ballast. Also, many electric ballast have a "range dial" where you can switch the power ranges from 25% - 50% - 75% - 100%. So if you have 1000w ballast, you can switch it to 50% and hook up 500w bulb.

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1 hour ago, JKim said:

My mistake. It has to be 400 watts ballast as well if you are using 400w light bulb. When you run lower wattage bulb with higher wattage ballast, your bulb very likely die (possibly burst out), and when you use higher wattage bulb with lower wattage ballast, the ballast will be damaged. Make sure you get the equal wattage bulb to ballast. Also, many electric ballast have a "range dial" where you can switch the power ranges from 25% - 50% - 75% - 100%. So if you have 1000w ballast, you can switch it to 50% and hook up 500w bulb.

@JKim Does buying a self ballasted metal halide work? Or do I need to buy the sets? And how does the ballast go in the generator? Thank you

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5 hours ago, JKim said:

If you are referring to these in the link below, then half yes, half no. These are flood light, so it will only shoot light one direction.

https://lightbulbsurplus.com/hid/metal-halide-light-bulbs/self-ballasted/

If this isn't what you were referring to, please provide me a link or an image.

@JKimYeah that was... thanks for telling me. Could I ask how to connect the ballast to the generator? is 120v AC okay? Thank you!

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4 hours ago, Bugboy3092 said:

@Bug boy3092Most of the forested areas along the chattahoochee river are highly productive areas, especially if you’re looking for L. Elaphus

Is there any specific areas? You can dm me if you don't want to share here. Thank you so much!

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I have only collected in California and Arizona and each species is slightly different so I'm not sure about L elaphus and D tityus. However, if D tityus is similar to D grantii as far as attraction to lights, then metal halide would be much better than black light for D tityus. I have a friend that collects D tityus each year and he goes to gas stations, convenience stores, schools, etc. anywhere there are big HID lights. I do collect L mazama and they come to black lights pretty well. Bugboy collects a lot of L elaphus, so he would know the best method.

To do a HID setup you have to do a little bit of handy work unless you buy it from Bioquip and its already put together but its really expensive from Bioquip. Its nothing difficult at all but a little bit of wire splicing, mounting the mogul socket to the tripod, etc. There are instructions online if you google it. There are many people on this forum who have done it so we can try to explain it. I'm not that good at giving instructions for things via text. It would be easy to show you.

 

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5 hours ago, Garin said:

I have only collected in California and Arizona and each species is slightly different so I'm not sure about L elaphus and D tityus. However, if D tityus is similar to D grantii as far as attraction to lights, then metal halide would be much better than black light for D tityus. I have a friend that collects D tityus each year and he goes to gas stations, convenience stores, schools, etc. anywhere there are big HID lights. I do collect L mazama and they come to black lights pretty well. Bugboy collects a lot of L elaphus, so he would know the best method.

To do a HID setup you have to do a little bit of handy work unless you buy it from Bioquip and its already put together but its really expensive from Bioquip. Its nothing difficult at all but a little bit of wire splicing, mounting the mogul socket to the tripod, etc. There are instructions online if you google it. There are many people on this forum who have done it so we can try to explain it. I'm not that good at giving instructions for things via text. It would be easy to show you.

 

Thanks for the info. I will give it a try!

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There is a group on facebook that just recently discussed light trapping. The group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SWInsects/

Its interesting because one of the guys mentioned using a little black light LED that runs on 3 AAA batteries. He said it was quite effective. Not quite as good as a Bioquip 15 watt black light but maybe 80%? I find that really amazing. This is something that you can put in your pocket! I'll have to give it a try and see how well it works. 

https://www.100candles.com/i-6446/6-Inch-Octagon-UV-Black-Light-Light-Base?fbclid=IwAR0z-6fCFjrLveJd3uc2E12bhpHo419jMgNgLloP73afPbwdTIc435rMlOQ

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