The pitfall trap is an adaptation of hunting techniques that dates back to primitive man. It consists of a plastic cup with a funnel. A hole is dug in the ground, the trap is sunk into the soil and the mouth is level with soil surface. Many ground dwelling spiders as well other arthropods fall into the trap and are unable to escape. In this study we used preservative fluids (ethylene glycol, antifreeze). Traps were operated for two consecutive years in pecan orchards.
To inspect arboreal spider fauna a PulsaFog 10 thermal fogger loaded with pyrethrin is used in order to knock down the spiders and other arthropods into plastic sheets previously placed under the canopy of the tree. After one hour and by using a vacuum all spiders are collected and placed on bags for further identification.
Corrugated Cardboard Bands
Single side corrugated cardboard bands were introduced in this project in order to collect arboreal spiders. This method attracks lots of spiders that are looking for refugee sites where they can sit and hide and also lay eggs making this technique very useful when studying the spider community in crops. Bands are attached to the terminal branches of the tree and left them for a week allowing enough time to spiders to come and use the provisional refugee. This technique may be also important for enhancing spider communities in agroecosystems.
Spiders are also collected by beating branches with a stick and knocking down spiders and other critters on a white sheet and collected with a bucal aspirator. Also, spiders are collected by looking up and down and by using the aspirator suck them in to vials. Spiders can also be spotted by searching in webs or following trails of silk.