I focused on yellow pan traps (YPT), mostly, for my collecting because the material we get is relatively easy to sort, with numerous parasitoids, like Ceraphronoidea and quite easy to install and control them. I started with 300 YPT at the first site, the number of the traps decreased, though, for different reasons. Collecting sites are marked below, and I am giving just short descriptions of main collecting sites and events in this post. Probably you will hear some nice stories later, when writing blogs about the most important things related to the Microceraphron trip: What are in the jars?
We started at Baja, my hometown and collected with 300 YPT near Gara, on an alkali meadow near the alkaline lake of Gara. Then we crossed the country and went to the Hungarian-Ukranian border where we spent 10 days collecting on one of the island hills of Bereg, the Béganyi Hill with 300 (at first), then just 246 YPT and a Malaise trap. During our collecting some of the YPTs were taken over by the Ukranian army controlling the border between Hungary and Ukraine (Why Ukranian soldiers love to steal our YPT remains an unanswered question). On the way back to Kőszeg we stopped in Debrecen and met Szabi Lengyel (former postdoc of Rob Dunn), who is involved in the project: Grassland restoration and marsh protection in Egyek-Pusztakócs. One of his students will compare the Hymenoptera fauna of areas have been restored in different time using different collecting methods (including YPT, therefore I left there 100 YPT). We are now waiting for amazing ceraphronoids (perhaps Elysoceraphron and Microceraphron) from that project! We stopped a while near Budapest, but did not collect at the locus typicus for Microceraphron – too suburban now. During our next Hungarian trip (next year the wasp conference will be held in Hungary) probably we will rent a house and try to collect in the garden. We spent the next five days with 146 YPT and George Melika at Kőszeg, then went back to Baja and collect some more dudes from the saline/alkaline meadow of Gara. And that’s it. Done. We arrived back safely to the sunny Raleigh with all of the samples, two tired kids and a patience-lost wife. Was our effort successful? Hopefully yes, at least there are many insects in our jars, which could either help our research or «just» go into the not-too-rich palearctic part of the Insect Museum.
Oops. Just one question remained for this blog. What can you do if your wife decide not to care about children in the middle of sweeping on a really good looking meadow?
Just try to be patient!