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Old 03-15-2009, 10:27 PM   #1
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Default Making a butterfly/dip net

Lots of kids like to catch insects/tadpoles/fish with a little net. While I do not think disrupting animals behaviors is a good thing, capturing a single preying mantis or tadpole from a well established population is probably not terribly unethical. However, I do believe it carries an ethical responsibility to learn how to care for the captures (providing proper temps/prey for predatory insects and providing pond water or tap water treated with anti-chloramine compounds for tadpoles (allowing water to gas for 24 hours is no longer sufficient as chloramine has replaced chlorine in much of the US and perhaps other countries too)).

  • Acceptable screening material such as cheesecloth, panty hose, or curtain material. Materials should not have been treated with detergents as persistent chemicals may be present.
  • Thread and needle (fishing line may be stronger and longer lasting).
  • A wire coat hanger
  • A stick, metal rod, or wooden dowel for a handle
  1. Unthread the coat hanger
  2. Rearrange the coat hanger (make sure it's even across the top) to suit your needs.
  3. Sew the screening material onto the coat hanger
  4. Tightly wrap the coat hanger around the handle. Plyers may be helpful in working the coat hanger tightly onto the handle.
  5. Use a double layer of tightly stretched duck tape to secure the coat hanger to the handle.
See the photos below for more details, I managed to make this one for materials already laying around the house. The net cannot be used for dredging the bottoms of ponds or capturing insects in brush as it will tear and bend.
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Making a butterfly/dip net-dip.jpg   Making a butterfly/dip net-dip1.jpg   Making a butterfly/dip net-dip2.jpg  
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:43 AM   #2
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Did you use a sewing machine or a plain old needle and thread to sew the material to the hanger?

This is a wonderful project for aspiring young naturalists.
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:40 AM   #3
Big Fat juicy WORM
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Location: Virginia, USA

Way cool, thanks for the info
Earthworms are the intestines of the soil. ľAristotle
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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I don't know how to use a sewing machine, so I just hand sewed the cheesecloth around the rim of the hanger. It's pretty easy even for a novice and only took about ten minutes. This is easy enough even for a child to do as long as someone can teach them how to get a thread started.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:41 PM   #5
Unicellular Fungi
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Hand sewing is a perfect activity for younger kids. They can probably thread their needles faster than we could thread them. They may need an extra hand unthreading the coat hangers. This is an activity that can be enjoyed by many ages using readily available materials. I like it and find it to be appropriate for numerous groups. I'm incorporating it into a summer activity. This is wonderful.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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butterfly or dip, making, net

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