My son is going to have to collect bugs. How do we
preserve them until time to place them on the board? How long
will they keep?
If you plan on pinning the insects, I recommend keeping them in the freezer
until you are ready to do so. Make sure you put the insects into small
hard containers (film canisters or old yogurt containers work well) not
plastic bags so the specimens don't get crushed. They will last as long as
they are kept frozen. When you are ready to pin them, just let them thaw
out and have at it.
You can also preserve insects by putting them in 70% rubbing alcohol
(isopropenol) or 70% ethanol. Most rubbing alcohol comes already at the
right concentration. However, once the insects have been put in alcohol
they lose their pretty colors and aren't usually as good to pin. They will
last decades in alcohol if not handled a lot, and if the alcohol is
refilled every couple of years.
Pined insects if properly taken care of can last for decades too. Just put
the board of insects in an airtight box with a couple of mothballs (secure
the mothballs so they won't roll around over your specimens) and put a new
moth ball in every 6 months. The moth ball keep mites and tiny beetles
from eating your lovely pinned specimens.
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Update: June 2012