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Papering beetles


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#1 Markelangelo

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:57 PM

Does anyone have experience with how to properly paper beetles? I have some extras that I collected and don't want to pin right now, but I want to save them for later. From the ones I have, it seems like cardboard with plastic and staples, but what kind of plastic should be used/where to get it? Thanks in advance!

#2 Matt

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:10 PM

If you go the "plastic & staples" route you run the risk of mould or damaging the beetles by squashing them.  It is not a good way of long term storage.

 

Either go to a specialist stamp collectors store and buy a selection of glassine envelopes which come in different sizes with sticky cover flaps, or get some greaseproof paper / baking parchment or similar and fold a traditional paper triangle and store your beetles in that.

 

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#3 Dynastes

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:33 PM

You buy a roll of cellophane and some cardboard. You dry out the beetle upside down to avoid damage to the legs. Drying takes a few days or weeks. When fully dry relax it using rubbing alcohol on paper towel, not submersion (you may regret relaxing with boiling or water depending on the specimen), place it on the card, cover and staple (as Matt says be careful not to put staple too close or tightly as to damage the specimen). If you just place your beetle in plastic without a thorough drying then mites, phorids, mold, or other organism will come to feast.

#4 Markelangelo

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

Thanks Matt! I have never heard of using glassine for beetles before! I just use it for my leps :)

Oak, when you say drying out completely, you aren't referring to the alcohol correct? I would staple it still soft and relaxed with the alcohol?

#5 Dynastes

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:46 PM

Correct.

#6 Bill Myers

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:57 PM

You buy a roll of cellophane and some cardboard. You dry out the beetle upside down to avoid damage to the legs. Drying takes a few days or weeks. When fully dry relax it using rubbing alcohol on paper towel, not submersion (you may regret relaxing with boiling or water depending on the specimen), place it on the card, cover and staple (as Matt says be careful not to put staple too close or tightly as to damage the specimen). If you just place your beetle in plastic without a thorough drying then mites, phorids, mold, or other organism will come to feast.

 

Just a side note if you ever decide to relax a cicada:  Don't use alcohol!  The alcohol discolors cicadas.  I relax all my cicadas with water.  It takes longer, but they keep their colors (as long as you don't leave them in the relaxing jar more than a few days). 

 

My setup is a LARGE wide-mouthed, glass specimen jar (with a glass lid and a rubber gasket seal) filled with about an inch of sand on the bottom.  I pour water into the sand until it is saturated.  Then, I use a stainless steel vegetable steamer (the type that, when unfolded, looks like a dish antenna) to place my cicadas into.   Then, using a string, I lower the vegetable steamer into the specimen jar; seal the lid; and, place it outside in the sunlight.  The warmth from the sunlight helps kick the humidity up rather quickly.  It takes about a day and a half to two days for the cicadas to be fully relaxed.

 

Cheers

 

P.S. - I also place a mothball in a small piece of scrap fabric and suspend it in the specimen jar with a piece of thread just in case there are any live parasites on the specimen that I'm relaxing. 



#7 Alex

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

I've never used glassine for beetles and rarely saw anyone using it. Beetles are not protected sufficiently in glassine envelopes.

 

Mark, if you are just saving them for later, for yourself and not going to ship those specimens to someone (exchange, sale) the easiest and safest is to store your specimens on layers of cotton.

 

post-1084489-1373490009_thumb.jpg.

 

You can place even fresh, never dried beetles immediately on cotton, close tupperware and store them safely. That's what entomologists do. I'd recommend adding some kind of pest protection to the tupperware. I use no-pest strips; you can buy them from BioQuip, or find at your local Lowes / Home Depot.

Mothballs are insect REPELLENTS, they do not KILL parasites that can be present on your specimens. It's also very potent carcinogen and can even cause cataract. No-Pest strips also should be handled carefully.

 

If you go the papering route - several points. Use breathable cellophane (cello-wrap). I found it at Paper Shack or ask florists for some. Most plastics do not allow moisture to escape and you can end up with moldy beetles. Paper beetles when they are still relaxed and not completely dried; otherwise you risk breaking them. If I need to paper a dry specimen that's what I do: 1) Relax a specimen for 1-3 days (depending on size) in a tightly closed relaxing chamber (usually I do not quick-relax beetles by immersing them in water). 2) Position legs / antennae neatly close to the body, let it dry for at least one, better few days, on Styrofoam; use pins. 3) Paper them - cardboard, several layers of paper towel OR some cotton, breathable cellophane wrap. Do not staple too close to the body. Better keep papered beetles in ventilated area for few days. 

 

About relaxing with alcohol - 1) it can fade colors for some species; 2) it makes insect joints stiff.

 

Happy collecting!
Alex



#8 Bill Myers

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:56 PM

[...] Mothballs are insect REPELLENTS, they do not KILL parasites that can be present on your specimens. [...]

 

Hmm...  I was always under the impression that mothballs would kill insects and parasites if they were in a confined area (like my sealed specimen jar).  Anyway, thank you for the tip, Alex!  I will definitely pick up a No-Pest strip the next time I'm at the hardware store!

 

Cheers



#9 LarvaHunter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:13 PM

Mothballs either contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Bioquip used to sell paradichlorobenzene in crystal form. Now they only carry the no pest strips. Paradichlorobenzene mothballs do kill all parasites dead. No pest strips contain dichlorvos which the active ingredient is DDVP. The EPA has tried to ban it several times in the last 25 years. Bioquip sells the no pest strips now, which is stupid as DDVP damages the DNA in insect collections. Paradichlorobenzene is much better, they both are carcinogenic, but DDVP is way worse for humans. Nothing will live to eat your insects with paradichlorobenzene. If DDVP damages the DNA of insects in collections, just imagine what it will do long term. I think the no pest strips are attractive because of the ease of use but DDVP has so many downsides and is overkill, it is nothing new.

#10 LarvaHunter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:58 PM

Remember to properly label and date the insects as well if you want them to ever be used in a museum or scientific research one day.
DNA is used more in insect collections these days as well, that is why museums that are finding out DDVP damages insect collections DNA, switch to paradichlorobenzene. Oh, it also screws up human DNA, great huh?

#11 Max

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:30 AM

Hi

Newbish questions really,

What's the best way to store the beetle that just have died?

E.g. I do not have time to spread it now, so I want to keep it as long as possible in it's best condition before I will spread it. Do I still have to dry it out and then relax?

What is the best way to prepare such freshly died beetle for sale?

I normally just put them into plastic tub in fridge, but this does not solve the problem for a long term storage I guess.

Is there any webmaterial to read about it?

Max



#12 Matt

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:37 AM

If the beetles is freshly dead - paper it as I described.  Long term storage of papered specimens is fine as long as they are kept dry and the envelopes are kept within a crush proof, airtight box.  There is no need to dry out then relax a beetle,  just to put it in an envelope.

 

Rather than the fridge, you can keep specimens in the freezer.  Place in a sealed container with some tissue paper so they can not rattle about so they do not dessicate and freeze.  When you take them out, let them defrost for a couple of hours before you open the container otherwise you will get moisture condensing on your frozen beetle.  Frozen fresh specimens will come out of the freezer soft and ready for pinning, insects can be stored for years in a freezer.



#13 LarvaHunter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:53 PM

Universities teach that you can use the freezer instead of drying, storing then relaxing. I guess it is personal preference. Personally If I can't pin it that day or the next, I like to dry them out and store them with PDB with location and date labels, in a container like Matt's picture above. I find that when I use the freezer. The connective tissue in the neck gets too loose, and I have to use more pins to make the beetle look natural. I believe that during the freezing, the water in the soft tissue expands into larger ice crystals and that compromises the connective tissue when thawed, but I am not sure. You can also over relax beetles as well, but that is if you keep them in the relaxing jar too many days. I try to make them look as natural as possible, most entomologists try to save space, so they will pin the legs closer to the body in order to be able to fit the max amount of insects in a given box. Freezing is more convenient if you don't want to wait a few days for the relaxing jar to work.

#14 pannaking22

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:50 AM

Resurrecting this thread a bit but I have a couple questions. I place all of my specimens in my freezer (with all pertinent info) and I have some that I want to send out for an exchange. Could I take some of these specimens out of the freezer, paper them and then set them in a dry area (I have lots of sand due to keeping darklings and sand spiders, so I figured I would use that)? They are always nice and relaxed despite having been in my freezer for several months, so I can set them nicely before papering.

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