Over the years, one subject in this blog that has gained a lot of interest is the building and use of harp traps. Back in 2008 I described building a trap with permanently stretched strings, slightly smaller than the commercially available traps (see The kitchen table harp trap). Since then I've had more queries about that than about all the other posts I've written combined.
I've written three posts about how it fared in practice:
- A bat in the hand (May 2008)
- Happy harp trapping (August 2008)
- Swarming bats and shivering bat-workers (March 2011)
In 2014 I started experimenting with larger harp traps, inspired by Merlin Tuttle's original harp trap and I described a massive one I built, using a similar technique to the kitchen table harp trap, but on a grand scale (Goliath - the Daddy of harp traps, March 2014).
Although Goliath was successful in catching bats, it had a couple of major draw-backs. When assembled, a post obstructed the centre of the trap. This wasn't part of the original design, but was necessary to resist the intense power of hundreds of strings hauling the top and bottom bars together. But a bigger issue was transport. As I built it with a light yet strong aluminium alloy frame, it was light enough to move about, but because of its size it had to be transported on a car roof rack, making the strings vulnerable to tree branches catching and ripping them in transit. Storage of the trap was a bit of a challenge too!
After a couple of seasons, I reluctantly decided that permanently stretched strings weren't really viable for such a gigantic trap. I went back to the drawing board and the eventual result was Goliath II.