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Looking for a recommendation for a light trap, seeing as the internet seems to only want to tell me about bulbs that DON'T attract as many insects...
I want something less than 100 dollars that would attract beetles, preferably one that someone as tested and/or had their own suitable results with for (primarily) beetles. I am NOT looking for a huge double-tube setup on a tripod due to my neighbors... more like a small-medium lamp or a bulb recommendation for my porch or to place with beer/banana traps. I CAN set up tarps/sheets.

I'm in the east coast of the USA and I'm hearing a ton of large insect impacts on my windows at night lately, which leads me to believe that the ox beetles and other species are out now. I'm not quick enough to get to them once I hear them, so I want to set up traps. Eastern Hercules is also native to my area and I'm in a heavily wooded zone with swampland and suitable oak. I have small lanterns, but they seem to vary in effectiveness (yellow bulbs).

Anyone got a model or light they really love that they could recommend me (or link me)? Much appreciated.

(TL;DR, so... looking for a black light or something that someone has had nice results with, as I can't camp out near a gas station around here (too dangerous). Recommendations?)

Edited by GelGelada
Needed to add something.
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I understand you would like to collect as much beetles as possible with low cost under $100, but that is rather ridiculous, as smaller sized, non-plugged light sources just CANNOT produce enough light or UV to attract various and numerous numbers of insects. SO it is quite difficult to attract and collect any larger sized scarabs you might want to see UNLESS you light it up next door to your beetle neighbors.

Better equipment (with substantial knowledge, of course) = better result.
Light trapping isn't just an easiest way to collect insects. IT REQUIRES A HUGE KNOWLEDGE.

Those "insects" bumping onto your windows at night is probably, very likely, may beetles in subfamily Melolonthinae. Strategus species do not usually fly to bump into your windows several times to make a stressful noise to human ears. Smaller beetles fly a lot, compared to larger beetles, simply because of their lighter body weight. You don't hear a thing when Dynastes tityus flies to your light trap set up. They barely make any noise when they drop onto a ground. This was the case for D. grantii as well, where we observed 240+ specimens of them, very few actually landed on the setup (mostly couple yards away from the setup). Those two species of Dynastes, rarely ever lands right next to the lights. They usually only land nearby. Xyloryctes thestalus also does not seem to make much of noise either (probably because they are lightweight, and make less noticeable noise), however, they do come to right next to the lights. 

If  you find a great location, sure, a battery powered non-LED lanterns work okay. I cannot seem to find it on Amazon anymore, but they used to sell Energizer branded lantern for less than $20. Dr. MJ Paulsen in University of Nebraska State Museum (Lincoln, NE, USA) used to tell me he was able to collect numerous numbers of Lucanus elaphus, in where they occur. HOWEVER, this person is a Lucanidae specialist. He is not an amateur. Another option for you is what I has when I was still a high school teenager, cannot afford any thousands of dollar equipment I currently have. I collected quite number of different species of scarabs with this, and had no issue of finding beetles which occurred in my neighboring areas. Result was excellent.


Buy two, and replace one with UV light tubes, to use main light + blacklight. Or just go ahead use two blacklight tubes.

Also, alternative suggestion for you is to just walk or drive around street, gas station, tennis courts, or golf courses at night (not camping!). If you ever go to private properties, make sure you contact the owners. If you talk them out about it, they will usually gladly allow you to be in there. Every time I go collect insects in forest, reserved areas, private properties, I always, ALWAYS, greet and asks owners or neighboring campers for an understanding. They will usually accept.

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Thank you for sharing that information. In regards to the 12" fluorescent tube in that fixture. Is the bulb a F8T5?  Also, do you know how long you can run the light on the AA batteries? Seems like it wouldn't run too long on just AA batteries. 

Thank you,


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I never said I couldn't plug things up, just that I preferred not to spend hundreds of dollars on my first light trap set up until I know more about what is around here late at night beyond the few ox beetles and longhorns that I have found. I have walked around a lot and I have substantial property size (with woods), but I cannot walk around other people's property even if I ask because of risk of wild animals like coyotes, which have been spotted here as roadkill and I have heard them at night. This is why I'd prefer something on my property if at all possible.

I will try these lamps, but Jkim your advice comes off as somewhat abrasive to me as a so-called "amateur" and calling it "ridiculous". This sort of thing is why I hesitate to ask anyone about anything on here to begin with.

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Here's a relatively inexpensive, very basic UV set-up that I've used for years with great results, though I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for - 


Apart from that, the only other things you'll need are a white sheet to suspend right behind the fixture, something to securely hang the fixture from in a vertical position, and a medium-duty extension cord, the length of which will of course depend on how far away you want to set up the light from your nearest power outlet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The best light I have is the bug zapper... And still no sights of what I'm after - crispy or alive! To go along with lights, pheromonal traps probably work the best. There are some specialized pheromones for certain species but they are pricey. $50 for June Bug and $300 for herculese beetle. Japanese beetle lures may also work for some flower beetles.They also attract green june bugs.  I remember when using one about 2 years ago, I caught a hermit flower beetle! Maybe Japanese beetles are closely related to the  Cetoniinae family.

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