Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion of 2018 gathering

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Preserving insect collection

I am new to this and will pin some bees and butterflies and one dragonfly. Other than adding a moth ball in the finished frame, is there a way to preserve the insects? Now they are currently in semi closed tupperware until I receive my mounting pins, some have been there for the last 6 months (all dead and no moth balls).


Preserving insect collection
After you have pinned the insects and they are well dried out, they can be placed in your insect case. Yes, placing a moth ball (naphthalene) in the box is an excellent idea. It will keep invading insects out that would destroy the collection. Other collectors use moth flakes (paradichlorobenzene) which works well too. But both will eventually sublimate, so they will need to be replaced every several months. Be sure your collection case is as airtight as possible. Bioquip Inc. has information and products and equipment for insect collections. I also have some printouts that might be helpful and you can contact me at Good luck with your project. Tim

I think using mothballs is a terrible idea for health concerns.
Mothballs emanate obnoxious vapors which when inhaled even in small doses will cause headaches, dizziness, and respiratory tract irritation. For long term exposure, expect accumulated toxicities to kidneys, liver, eyes (cataracts), blood (hemolytic anemia), and eventually cancer (usually nasopharyngeal). Naphthalene is on our government's list of chemicals deemed to be carcinogenic. I personally know a lifelong entomologist who developed such a cancer and I can't help wondering about the mothball connection. More museums and institutions are either going naphthalene-free or have made a decision not to add more naphthalene. Modern protection from dermestid larvae depends on wooden boxes with tight lids or if not tight as in BioQuip's cardboard boxes, then the box can be safely stored in a plastic ziplock bag. Additional steps to take are to reduce the time lids are off and to freeze all incoming specimens for one week before adding them to the collection. My personal trick when studying a cardboard box or small tray of specimens for long periods, is to balance the box (during rest times) atop a short fat candle holder with its upper sides circumferentially greased with Vaseline which never evaporates. I bought mine at a Goodwill store for 50 cents. Dermestid larvae won't want to crawl in the greasy layer and they can't fly! So this way I don't have to bother always returning the box to its plastic bag after each study session. This way also I avoid the wear-and-tear on the ziplock seal and I reduce the chance of producing small holes/cracks that would invite dermestid larvae. I make it a habit to periodically inspect protective plastic bags for tiny holes.

I agree
mothballs are a health hazard, plus I cannot stand the smell. my 10,000 plus specimen collection has never seen a mothball. good fitting lids on my own built Cornell drawers, along with freezing any specimens coming into the collection, and always checking for problems, which I have never had, even though I operate a dermestid colony at work!

Yes, mothballs are bad. I rec
Yes, mothballs are bad. I reccomend using PDB and also you can use cedar oil as a deterrent, if you want more info check out: . It matters whether you have tight fitting drawers or ones with small gaps where pests could get in at.

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