Shieldbug found on beat-net

How to observe wildlife: beat-netting

Matt Hayes, research assistant writes:

There are many ways to look for minibeasts that live around you and one easy method is to use a beat net.

You don’t need any fancy equipment; a white sheet or tray will work just as well as a store-bought net. An upside-down pale umbrella also makes the perfect substitute. A pale white colour works best as it helps minibeasts show up more clearly. Then all you need is access to any trees, bushes or greenery that rise above 1m from the ground.

Place your beat net beneath the tree and shake the branches above it from side to side. Don’t be afraid to really go for it as some insects hold on very tight, just make sure you don’t damage the tree when doing so.

Alternatively, instead of shaking the tree, you can hit the branches with a stick, which is where the name ‘beat’ net comes from.

Any minibeasts you dislodge will fall onto your make-shift net and you can see what you’ve found. Taking pictures and using a minibeast guide can be really helpful if you want to learn more about different species.


The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact.

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