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AKA: Insect Catcher

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Fig 1: Standard Pooter in use
Fig 1


A clear plastic pot with two tubes, used for collecting minibeasts.


Pooters make catching insects not only easier but also fun for pupils. They can be used to collect spiders, ants, woodlice and other small insects from the environment and act as a temporary storage container so that the ‘catch’ can be brought back to the classroom for studying closer.

To catch a bug, simply put the longer tube (the one with the membrane or gauze filter on the end) in your mouth, aim the other tube at the bug and inhale. All going well the bug should enter the pot and not your mouth (or lungs!) The membrane is there to protect you from breathing in the bug but the mesh is not normally fine enough to stop pollen and dust from entering the mouth so make sure teachers are aware that allergy sufferers could be affected when collecting samples amongst plants etc.

Before giving these to a class, ensure that the membranes / gauzes are in place and working correctly. Also ensure that the breathing tube is either denoted or longer than the other so the two cannot easily be confused. If there is already a bug or dirt in the pot and the wrong tube is sucked, it can enter the mouth as there is no filter at the end of that tube so be aware.

Nowadays, mechanical pooters are available for mainly professional use though they are naturally expensive. These will ‘suck’ for you, eliminating any risks of breathing unwanted nasties.

Some schools choose to make their own pooters using a bioling tube, bung and two flexible plastic tubes.


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