by Frank E. Lutz
Method of packing a butterfly.
The paper used in making the envelope
be stiff enough to protect the wings.
Having collected and killed the relatively few insects that we wish to keep
for future reference, we ought to know how to preserve them. However, do not
forget that information about the insects is usually of as much value as the
specimens--or more. Keep notes.
Insects collected in alcohol may remain there, or they may, unless
soft-bodied, be pinned as explained below. If butterflies cannot be pinned at
once, they should be packed in "triangles" as shown in the
accompanying sketch. Other insects may be packed in boxes, making first a thin
layer of cotton, then a single layer of insects, then a sheet of soft paper,
then a layer of cotton, and so on. Or they may be packed in small rolls of
porous paper. The rolls can conveniently be made around a pencil, the ends of
each roll being tucked in to fasten it. No preservation is necessary except
fairly rapid and thorough drying.
Fresh insects may be pinned at once. Dried insects must first be relaxed by
putting them in a moist chamber for a day or two. Any deep, covered dish will
serve as a relaxing box (if moist sand or wet blotting paper be put in it).
There should be a rack to keep the insects from touching water or getting
Long, slender pins should be used. The proper sort may be bought of
entomological supply houses. Pin true bugs through the triangular space on
their back; pin beetles through the right wing-cover near its base; pin other
insects a shade to the right of the middle line of that part of the thorax
that is just back of the head.
A common type of setting board showing
different stages in
A setting board for use when it is desired
to spread the
If you wish the wings expanded, they can be stretched out and fastened on
boards as shown here. After the specimen has dried on the boards for a week or
two, the wings will keep the position you have given them.
The boxes to contain pinned specimens may be any sort that is tight enough to
keep out the beetles that feed on dried insects. Visits from these beetles may
be discouraged by keeping naphthalene or camphor balls in the boxes. The bottom
of the boxes should be lined with cork, or two layers of corrugated
paper, or strips of dried cornstalk pith, or anything which will receive and
hold the pins without rusting them.
If you do not wish to pin your insects, they may be displayed by putting them
on a layer of cotton, covering them with glass, and sealing the edges, but this
method is not to be especially recommended. At any rate, do not forget your
notes about the habits, date and place of capture, etc., of each specimen.
Birch Bark Roll