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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

New trap problem

I bought a new portable trap from Watkins and Doncaster just over a month ago, a battery powered bucket type with three vanes and vertical tube, and a solar sensitive on /off switch, plus battery and charger. The solar switch was faulty so the light wouldn't switch on at dusk, I eventually persuaded Wat Don to change the electrics and I have started again with it, in the house it was fine - light going on and off as I passed my hand across the light sensitive switch . Put it out before dusk, went to a Red Squirrel meeting and checked it at 10 and the wretched thing hadn't come on. Again.
Has anyone else used these traps with the light sensitive switches? Have I been unlucky or are they notoriously unreliable?
So after coughing up  close on £200, four weeks ago I've not had a moth in it yet. I'm close to asking for my money back and I've not found the company that easy to deal with.
Any advice???


  1. We`ve all probably had `trap problems` at some stage and it can be very irritating. I`ve been known to `threaten` one of my traps, John Cleese style, if it would n`t work - luckily nobody was around or they would have called the `men in white coats`! I had a Wat Don light sensitive trap years ago, but I don`t recall major problems.
    You say that you`ve tried it in the house. Perhaps try it outside in the garden and try fiddling around with it eg touch the bulb to see if that works. Obviously the whole point of a light sensitive switch is to negate you being around though.
    My `set-up and leave` actinic battery traps are ones that you simply switch (ie connect to the battery) and leave, hoping that they last the dark hours, which they do in the summer months.

  2. We tested it when we put it out in the light, but I don't think the battery had enough oomph , even though it had been on charge continuously as recommended, to start it. Perhaps it doesn't like cold weather.

  3. Have you got a battery recharger that actually shows when it`s fully recharged - mine has red (uncharged) through yellow to green (fully charged).
    I got it from Maplin`s store in Llanelli.

  4. Jane, I have a 22W actinic trap with a light sensor, but I gave up relying on the sensor because it tended to switch on too late and off too early. I cover the sensor with black tape and operate it manually with a 20kWH battery which gives it enough hours for my purposes. Your 6W tube should run for a long time on a fully-charged 12kWH battery, I have the same set-up on a small actinic trap (6W with 12kWH battery, no light sensor) and it runs from dusk to dawn even in winter. Perhaps you could test your trap without the light sensor to see how many hours the light lasts.

  5. We are testing it again tonight, it works inside in the warm but seems to be erratic in the cold.
    I've got the recharger that shows when it is charged, and it is fully charged. Just seems silly to have paid extra for a light sensitive switch and find it's not reliable. I've got lots of friends who want me to trap and I'd like to be able to set it up and leave it to get on with it!!!!

  6. Light sensors are an absolute disaster!!! They consistently switch off far too early, and most of the moths fly away, leading to paltry catches even in good conditions. As Chris says, cover the sensor with tape/paint and operate the trap manually :-)

  7. Contrary to the above comments I have successfully used a light sensor (from ALS, on a 15 watt actinic trap with a compact battery designed for golf buggies) with no problems at all except that I agree it switches on a little too late and off a little too early.