We are researching bark and ambrosia beetles and would love to have your help. If you are interested in participating in our real-world bug science (also known as "entomology"), you can...

#1   Join the Project!




Desired Username:

Create Password:

...and get ready for the spring!
The best time to catch these beetles will be when the afternoon temperatures are above 70F. That's when you go to step 2...

#2   Catch beetles

Step 1: Get Supplies!
soda bottle (2 liter), hand sanitizer (alcohol-based, Purell is best), string, paint brush, small ziploc bag, padded envelope for shipping

Step 2: Make Your Trap!

click to download a printout


Step 3: Collect the Beetles
Every three days, collect your beetles and put them in a tube of hand sanitizer in the freezer.

After three collections, send them to us...

#3   Send 'em in

Where to Send Your Beetles...
...in the Eastern/Southern US
...in the Western/Northern US

Log in to get your SAMPLE NUMBER and to add your beetles to the Beetle Map!



#4   See What Lives In Your Backyard

Beetles in your neighborhood

More interesting stuff here

Learn more about Bark and Ambrosia Beetles at Ambrosia Symbiosis for now! We will be posting more information here very soon.

  • What's this project all about anyways?

    The beetles that you’ll be catching will be used for important scientific research. The map on the left is part of what we’re doing. This is called distribution mapping and the point is to try to collect as many different beetle species as we can from all over Florida, the United States, and even the world to get a picture of where these beetles are living. This kind of information is important to know, because some of these species can be dangerous to forests and even to agricultural crops like avocados. After you send in your beetles, they will be identified by the experts at the University of Florida and that information will show up on the map to the left.
  • Why do beetles fall into hand sanitizer?

    When a tree dies, the process of wood degradation produces alcohol. Bark and ambrosia beetles evolved an attraction to alcohol because they need to find dead trees to reproduce. Hand sanitizers contain lots of alcohol, and that’s we can use them to attract bark beetles!
  • What are these "bark beetles?"

    These beetles are much more that just what the name says: yes, many live in bark, but many also live inside trees and grow gardens of fungi for food (those are called ambrosia beetles). Many live in a strange family system with one brother an many sisters that have babies together. Several species are the world’s most destructive forest pests which, with the help of climate change, are turning Canada into grasslands. Want to know more? Click on the species that you trapped on the map, or visit our website: www.ambrosiasymbiosis.org.
  • Several cool beetle species

    • the redbay ambrosia beetle, a foreigner from Asia that’s destroying Florida’s forests and the avocado industry: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in886
    • the Southern Pine Beetle: a native pest that once used to kill thousands of acres of pines yearly (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in333) but now it is a rare insect!
    • the granulated ambrosia beetle: the most common beetle in your trap is probably not a native insect, but this invader from Asia: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in288

questions? comments?

email us at lab@backyardbarkbeetles.org!