Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 28 March 2016 22:36
Ever since I got my new handy Black & Decker GWC3600 L20-GB 36V Blower Vac suction sampler that is! Now, we've got a petrol driven machine at work and it's very strong and powerful. It does have its draw backs though. One, if you don't have a shed and a fuel store, it's a pain. It's also not so easy to chuck in the back of a car. It's also quite heavy. So, I was quite pleased to see you can get a fairly strong electric one. I bought this for £140. It runs off a 36V Lithium battery. I've temporarily rigged it up with an old net before my bag arrives from B&S Nets.
I took it up to Ditchling Beacon, a chalk-grassland site with an area of broken sward with bare ground and carpets of mosses. Firstly, it's really easy to carry. Secondly, the battery lasted longer than I did, which was great. As it's light, it's easy to be a little more focused on where you place it and also, the angle you place it at. I was able to get in at right angles under patches of moss. Where it's not so good though is that it's not so strong. It doesn't pick up the quantity of material that a petrol driven one does. On the kind of loose soils I was working on today though, that was actually a good thing. I've struggled in the past with the petrol driven one for the amount of material it picks up which engulfs the specimens. I believe though that having it in the car/with you all the time is likely to result in far more specimens long term than the petrol driven one will provide. In the hour I was up there I managed two new beetles and one new ant (below is Stenamma debile with its tiny eyes). Plus a few nice records too.
And here is the suction sampler favourite, the Devil's-bit Scabious Jewel Beetle Trachy subglaber.
The commonest snail was Abide secale, a snail I don't see that often. Spiders were surprisingly poorly represented but I did see the tiny Minyriolus pusillus. The commonest bug was Agramma laetum. Weevils included Orthochaetes setiger, Pseudorchestes pratensis and Ceratapion carduorum. So, it's charged up again and in my car, ready for another blast tomorrow lunch time...