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Suggestions for Eager Beavers

Summer is a great time to get started on your insect collection for ENT 425 (General Entomology).   Treat this like a scavenger hunt -- you have to find insects that fulfill taxonomic categories (orders and families) and ecological categories (like predators and leaf miners).  Each insect belongs to one taxonomic category and may also fill one or more ecological categories.  You can find more information about specific requirements by reading the Collection Instructions.

  1. Kill by freezing, or use a piece of "No Pest Strip" in the bottom of a Mason Jar.  Cut the "No Pest Strip" with a razor blade, but don't touch the strip with your bare hands (or breathe the fumes).
  2. Keep track of where and when you catch each insect.  You don't need to make fancy labels.  I will produce customized labels for you in the fall.
  3. Insect pins are available at the Student Supply Store.  Don't use hat pins or sewing pins.  Buy size #2 or #3 -- they are appropriate for most uses.
  4. Pin your insects soon after you catch them.  If they dry out, they will shatter when you try to pin them.  If you don't have time, put them in the freezer (in a sealed container) until you are ready to pin them.
  5. See the Guide to Mounting Insects on Pins and also the Diagram of Pinning Locations to learn the correct way to handle different types of insects.
  6. I have a special punch for making the paper "points" (triangles) used for mounting small insects.  See me if you want a supply of these for the summer.
  7. Don't attempt to mount butterflies or moths this summer.  Keep them frozen in a sealed container separated from one another by waxed paper or foil.  You'll get a mounting board for these in the fall.
  8. Keep moth balls or flakes in the box where you store your pinned insects.  Any box will do so long as it is reasonably air tight.
  9. ALL immature insects should go into alcohol.  Isopropol is OK for now, but 70% ethanol is best.
  10. Have FUN and enjoy your summer vacation!