Introduction: Catch and Release Insects
At times we have all encountered insects, innocently exploring our houses, cabins, or tents, completely oblivious of our presence, and intently focused on finding a way out of a very confusing environment.
I am not talking about the insects in the middle of taking a great chunk of flesh out of the back of your neck, or those relentlessly returning to suck blood from the little bits of exposed skin around your ankles.
With insects who innocently flew through an open window or door and inadvertently became trapped in your space, you have time to calmly deal with their unwelcome presence and gently relocate them back out into the wild blue yonder.
In my house, I have always been the go to, catch and release insect person. My earliest experience catching and releasing insect were from the regular discovery of spiders in my sisters room...
Step 1: Equipment and Materials:
- glass jar with a wide opening (mason jars or a juice glass work well)
- cardstock or heavy paper
- curiosity and courage and/or compassion for little animals
- an unwelcome insect on a flat surface (window, door, wall etc.)
- insect identification guide (optional)
Step 2: Capture
Wait until the insect is at a point far enough away from a corner so that you are able to centre your glass/jar over the insect and still have room to place it flat against the window or wall to avoid squishing any of the insects appendages or other parts!
Approach your distressed insect with your glass/jar in one hand and your piece of cardstock in the other. Slowly and carefully place the glass over the insect and flat against the window/wall.
Someone in my house, left the back door wide open all afternoon one day, so I had ample opportunity to photograph this method as I relocated multiple insect visitors, one at time :).
Step 3: Pause to Have a Look
Sometimes you have to wait for a while for your insect to be in a good position to capture.
The video used to create the gif file in the intro step, was taken with my phone while i was waiting patiently for that insect to get out of the corner. It wasn't until later when I looked at the video, that I realized and appreciated the interesting way it uses its wings to keep itself balanced and against the window.
Have a good look! If you want to try and identify your insect, take a few good photos before you release it.
Note: If you use a glass container that has smooth glass it is much easier to get a good look at the insect.
Step 4: Prepare to Transport
Take the piece of cardstock you are holding in your other hand, and place it up to the edge of the glass against the window. Tip the edge of the glass up slightly, just enough to slip the edge of the card under it, and begin to move it across towards the other side of the glass.
The idea is to move the card slowly and get the insect to step up onto it so you don't squish any part of it (photo1). I have done this hundreds of times, and it is not hard to do.
Once you have the card under the glass and completely covering the top, with the insect still inside, slip your hand under the card, and while keeping it right against the top of the glass, move it away from the window and right it.
Keep your hand on top of the card and move yourself outside (photo 2)!
Step 5: And Release!
Slowly remove the card from the top of the jar and watch your insect fly away!
If you are afraid you will be stung, put the jar down and back away from it as you remove the cover. Those with serious allergies should probably get someone else to do this job, although I have never, ever been stung when doing this.
Sometimes, especially with flies, I just open the door and remove the card in a kind of throwing motion with the jar, and in one motion the fly is gone.
"Everything is determined by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust ...we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." Einstein