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Name: Gina
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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.

Aurora Toennisson

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