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Scott Bundy 1 and Carol Sutherland 2 1 Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science 2 Extension Plant Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "Scott Bundy 1 and Carol Sutherland 2 1 Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science 2 Extension Plant Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scott Bundy 1 and Carol Sutherland 2 1 Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science 2 Extension Plant Sciences

2 Getting Started Whether you’re required to make an insect collection for class or you’re collecting insects for your school’s FFA Arthropod Collection, you’ll need some equipment and skills While you can make some of your collecting equipment, other items are best purchased----or SHARED with classmates Collecting & curating your insects will be a valuable ‘hands on learning experience’

3 Getting Started Here are four very good sources for sturdy, ready-made insect collection and monitoring equipment; there may be more….. Bioquip--- Gemplers--- Great Lakes IPM--- Ward’s Natural Science---

4 What Equipment Could You Use to Make an Arthropod Collection? Nets, Aspirator Kill Jar or Freezer? Lights or Black light? Pins Point punches Alcohol vials Insect Relaxing Chamber Data labels Pinning block Spreading boards Traps Display boxes While we say that ‘arthropods are everywhere’---you will have to ‘look everywhere’ at different times of day or seasons, using a variety of tools and techniques for best results. Be careful; stay safe.

5 Collecting Equipment Sweep net---for vegetation. Sturdy handle, rim & bag. (Sweep like you’re mopping a floor with a heavy mop.)

6 Collecting Equipment Aerial net for butterflies, dragonflies. Light- weight pieces; don’t snag net---it tears!

7 Collecting Equipment Use insect behavior to your benefit when working with sweep nets or aerial nets. Once disturbed, most insects will run or fly UP as soon as you stop swinging the net. Block their escape by flipping the long ‘tail’ of the bag over the rim. Now, reach for your aspirator, vials or jar. ‘Tail’ Rim

8 Collecting Equipment Suppose you net a stinging insect or a very unusual specimen that you can’t aspirate…then what? You can transfer it into a vial or jar by first holding the tail of the net up, letting the insect fly or crawl upward. Then insert the open jar through the net opening. Manipulate the bag and jar, catching the specimen inside the jar until you can get the lid on. Open rim of net ‘Tail’ of net ==== Open Jar

9 Collecting Equipment Aspirator You can make an aspirator to ‘vacuum’ various small insects. Use small diameter tubing, fine net and a small, stoppered container. The net is absolutely necessary to keep you from sucking insects into your mouth and lungs. Choose a container 3-4” long with A diameter of 1-1 ½”. Suck on this End of tubing * K Loeffelman, Univ Idaho, Bugwood.org

10 Collecting Equipment Sweep vegetation on the ground like you’re mopping a floor. Keep open side of net facing down at the end of a stroke. When finished, flip end of bag over the rim; insects are caught inside net fold. Uga HF Schwartz, CO State Univ, Bugwood.org

11 Collecting Equipment Sweep upright plants with repeated strokes aimed upward. Start near the bottom and work up. NEVER USE YOUR AERIAL NET TO SWEEP TREES OR SHRUBS! They are too lightly constructed to withstand this punishment. Avoid sweeping spiny trees or shrubs, like mesquite since the bag will tear and the handle might break.

12 Collecting Equipment Sweeping just above plants, especially those in bloom, might net insects flying away from you. Use medium to long strokes, flipping the end of the bag over the rim when finished. This technique may work with tall plants, too. NE Rees, USDA-ARS-Ret, Bugwood.org

13 Collecting Equipment Sweeping usually will catch a variety of insects. Avoid being stung by agitated bees and wasps by quickly opening your net to release them---then flipping the bag over the rim again to keep other insects for sorting. Uga HF Schwartz, CO State Univ, Bugwood.org

14 Collecting Equipment Once any bees, wasps or other stinging insects are released, you can rest the rim of the net on your head, freeing one hand to work your aspirator and the other hand to manipulate the net and insects. Photo: Emsworthwaysides hampshire org uk

15 Collecting Equipment D-net---aquatic vegetation on edges of ponds, streams, lakes. Sturdy handle, rim, bag; net in bottom. Smaller, cheaper versions are used in aquaria.

16 Collecting Equipment Kill Jar Plaster of Paris Add acetone or ethyl acetate Add strips of paper towel or Kleenex to cushion specimens, absorb moisture Put several bands of tape on exterior of glass jar to ‘reinforce’ it; glass jar will shatter if dropped. Plastic jars will dissolve if acetone or ethyl acetate is used. Also, see next slide for another method

17 Collecting Equipment Plan B: Skip acetone & ethyl acetate, put your DRY specimens into small containers or ziplock bags (don’t crush) and place them in the freezer over night; thaw briefly & pin NOTE: Insects from higher altitudes, colder climates & some others may need to be frozen for a week or longer; pinned insects that ‘revive’ can go back, too

18 Traps, Trapping Traps can be very simple and inexpensive OR they can be very elaborate and expensive Here are some simple and inexpensive ideas to try---variety and imagination can produce interesting and unusual specimens REMEMBER: Safety is of the utmost importance!!

19 Traps, Trapping Porch or Security Lights? Catch insects coming to the light at night or before dawn (avoid ‘Bug Lights’) Black lights? Use extension cord or battery for power. Catch insects landing on nearby wall, screen or sheet ‘Bug-Napper’ in use, BioQuip Catalog Beat the birds to your catch!

20 Traps, Trapping Odor Traps? Different smelly baits can attract different species. Consider---rotting fruit, rotting meat, very sweet scents (e.g. fabric softener, detergent), etc. Put the bait on a disposable plate & check it frequently (an hour, perhaps several hours, overnight, etc.)

21 Traps, Trapping Pitfall traps--- can work well with different baits, or sometimes no bait, trapping insects that do not fly readily. Use a large disposable container ; put smelly bait in the bottom. Cover bait with screen for easier removal of insects Dig a hole deep enough so top of container is at ground level; put a ‘roof’ over opening of container. Leave trap overnight. NOTE: Lizards or small rodents can eat your catch if you don’t check trap! Small board ‘roof’ elevated over trap Soil level Trap Screen Bait

22 Pan Traps Use disposable ‘party bowls’ in several colors Place sets of bowls (various colors) in different parts of the habitat (shade, sun, near animals, blooming plants, etc.) Put abt. 1” water + few drops of dish detergent in each bowl Leave traps several hrs or overnight--- collect insects Pin, point or pin & spread your catch right away. Even butterflies and moths will be useable!

23 Once You Have Some Insects, You’re Almost Ready to Pin Practice pinning on some of your larger, more common insects first---like grasshoppers, crickets, etc. Some larger beetles may have harder wing covers. Use a larger pin here; guide pin carefully to prevent punching out the legs Save smaller, delicate specimens, moths & butterflies for later

24 Insect Pins Enameled or stainless steel---purchase these Available sizes---#000 to 7 #00 for smaller, pinnable insects #2 or #3 should work for most common larger insects; use these also for ‘pointing’ smaller, delicate insects. NOTE: Smaller pins will bend very readily

25 Pinning Insects---Caution! Insects dry rapidly, becoming very brittle If you try to pin a dry insect---the legs will probably fall off---and worse If you cannot pin fresh specimens immediately, you will need to soften them or ‘relax them’

26 Relaxing chamber Clean, tightly-sealing container Moisten paper towel with 1:1 mixture of water & rubbing alcohol; place in bottom of container Fold clean, dry paper towel to fit in container above the moist towel. Carefully place insects onto dry towel. Check flexibility of insects daily. Be patient.

27 Pin Position---to the right of center Orthoptera Hemiptera Coleoptera Hemiptera Diptera Hymenoptera Dermaptera Lepidoptera Odonata. For larger specimens!

28 Pointing Small, Delicate Insects Point punch, note card Point in place on insect pin Note card

29 Use pinning block to pin the point first. Bend the very tip of the point down, dot with glue. Glue point to insect’s right side. Again, this works BEST if the insect is fresh or softened/’relaxed’. Use Elmer’s Glue---effective, non-toxic, water soluble This technique is used for insects too small or delicate to pin directly Pointing Insects glue

30 Alcohol Vials? Used for specialized collecting: immatures, nymphs, larvae; most arachnids, non-insects 70% rubbing alcohol Use screw cap vials with cap seals---prevents evaporation Drop fleshy specimens into nearly boiling water; set aside to cool. Heat treatment kills internal microorganisms that will blacken specimen. Label with pencil or alcohol- proof ink. Content Of vial (It’s the larva of A human bot fly!)

31 StateCountyCountry (if needed) City or Regional info Habitat/host data Date Collector Data Label Labels can be printed by hand with a fine-point pen or printed on a laser or ink-jet printer. Use 4 pt type, no more than 6 lines long. Keep labels small & neat. Other information can go on a second label.

32 Use this tool to ‘space’ your fresh or relaxed insect high on the insect pin. Most of the time, your data label will fit underneath it and still be legible. Pinning Block

33 Spreading Board For Lepidoptera, Odonata Pin your fresh or relaxed specimen first. Use screws on either end of board to widen or narrow slot where you will anchor your pinned insect. Get some extra pins & narrow strips of paper for next steps. See next slide…

34 Spreading Lepidoptera Hold wing in place with pin through paper strip; repeat for hind wing, pushing its leading edge under trailing edge of forewing Use one extra pin to pull forewing forward w/o puncturing it. Vein on leading edge is strong enough to allow you to push wing forward Multiple pins can Use extra pins anchor wings under to support paper strips. abdomen, antennae Let sit several days-week. Remove Practice makes pins, paper, pin into perfect! display. Forewings are at right angles to axis of body

35 Protect it from: -Dermestid beetles -Other damaging insects, fungi -Too much light, heat, moisture -Handling or touching, shaking, jarring, dropping Housing Your Insect Collection

36 Select a container with a tightly fitting lid; container must be deep enough to hold pinned specimens in a sturdy pinning surface; example below shows a temporary storage box. Put pinned insects in a box separate from alcohol vials (vials can leak or break loose & roll)

37 Housing Your Insect Collection Here are some examples to consider

38 These specimens are arranged by Order

39 These specimens also are arranged by Order Labels are legible but a little long

40 Housing Your Insect Collection While this arrangement looks nice, what happens if the alcohol vials ‘break loose’?

41 Housing Your Insect Collection Must have a tightly-fitting lid, keeping out pests that will destroy dry, brittle specimens These are commercially available boxes. Box on right is for permanent museum display or storage.

42 Resources Triplehorn, C.A. & N.F. Johnson Borror And DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects, 7 th ed. Thomson Brooks/Cole. Entomological Society of America:


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