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Question for pinning beetles


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1. Will it be better to put dried beetles into alcohol than hot water for longer preserving?

 

2. Are there any way to harden dried beetles?

 

3. Megasoma Actaeon is too big to pin that my longest pin is not that long to make a space between the box and Actaeon. Any suggestion?

 

For question 1, I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to but I'll touch on two possible points. If you are just relaxing the beetle then use hot water or a relaxing chamber. Beetle preservation is simple due to their hard bodies that do not decompose so relaxing them in water vs. alcohol doesn't make much difference. If you are referring to wet preservation then use alcohol. Long storage in water would lead to mold.

 

For question 2, one the beetle is positioned you can just leave it out to air dry. It takes a couple days but the body and legs will dry and harden up again. Once they are dry no additional hardening method is needed.

 

For question 3, larger beetles require #7 entomology pins that bioquip sells. These are slightly longer than all other sizes and I have never had an issues pinning even XL M. actaeon specimens with #7 pins. I would suggest just pinning around the body/legs in a couple spots though and not even through the elytra though. If you ever decided to sell your collection, some people prefer specimens that have not been pinned at all. They can always be pinned but never unpinned!

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For question 1, I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to but I'll touch on two possible points. If you are just relaxing the beetle then use hot water or a relaxing chamber. Beetle preservation is simple due to their hard bodies that do not decompose so relaxing them in water vs. alcohol doesn't make much difference. If you are referring to wet preservation then use alcohol. Long storage in water would lead to mold.

 

For question 2, one the beetle is positioned you can just leave it out to air dry. It takes a couple days but the body and legs will dry and harden up again. Once they are dry no additional hardening method is needed.

 

For question 3, larger beetles require #7 entomology pins that bioquip sells. These are slightly longer than all other sizes and I have never had an issues pinning even XL M. actaeon specimens with #7 pins. I would suggest just pinning around the body/legs in a couple spots though and not even through the elytra though. If you ever decided to sell your collection, some people prefer specimens that have not been pinned at all. They can always be pinned but never unpinned!

 

 

Well even beetles are hardened, they are easily break down with any touches.

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1. Will it be better to put dried beetles into alcohol than hot water for longer preserving?


- Dried beetles are usually relaxed by placing them in hot/boiling water for short period of time (< than an hour, up to few hours). If for any reason, like your schedule or very stiff joints in some beetles, you have to relax them longer (e.g. overnight or for a few days), then it's better to add something to water or use 70% alcohol to prevent mold from growing. Also if you suspect any pest contamination you can use alcohol to get rid of pests. Cons of using alcohol - it makes the joints stiffer and it can cause some discoloration.



2. Are there any way to harden dried beetles?


- If you mean to harden their elytra, then I am not aware of any. However it seems you mean to harden legs / antennae; maybe you need to handle them a lot for art projects - you can use water and acetone-soluble glues to add some strength to these breakable parts. But there is no perfect solution since the glue might be visible and your specimen can become not presentable.



3. Megasoma Actaeon is too big to pin that my longest pin is not that long to make a space between the box and Actaeon. Any suggestion?


The longest (#7) pins should work even for largest beetles. There are also pin-less mounting techniques

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1. Will it be better to put dried beetles into alcohol than hot water for longer preserving?

- Dried beetles are usually relaxed by placing them in hot/boiling water for short period of time (< than an hour, up to few hours). If for any reason, like your schedule or very stiff joints in some beetles, you have to relax them longer (e.g. overnight or for a few days), then it's better to add something to water or use 70% alcohol to prevent mold from growing. Also if you suspect any pest contamination you can use alcohol to get rid of pests. Cons of using alcohol - it makes the joints stiffer and it can cause some discoloration.

2. Are there any way to harden dried beetles?

- If you mean to harden their elytra, then I am not aware of any. However it seems you mean to harden legs / antennae; maybe you need to handle them a lot for art projects - you can use water and acetone-soluble glues to add some strength to these breakable parts. But there is no perfect solution since the glue might be visible and your specimen can become not presentable.

3. Megasoma Actaeon is too big to pin that my longest pin is not that long to make a space between the box and Actaeon. Any suggestion?

The longest (#7) pins should work even for largest beetles. There are also pin-less mounting techniques

 

 

I'm having trouble to put pin on beetles. It's quite risky to put the pin on beetles since the second part of body start to break. Right now, it's fine but I'm really scare to put the pin on them. How do you usually pin it easily?

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I'm having trouble to put pin on beetles. It's quite risky to put the pin on beetles since the second part of body start to break. Right now, it's fine but I'm really scare to put the pin on them. How do you usually pin it easily?

I prefer pin-less mounting for exotic beetles. I pin locally caught beetles/insects and not all of them; they are small or medium size, no problem pinning them.

I used to pin my beetles when I started (or rather re-started) my insect collecting and some weevils were very hard to pin. It's not always easy. I remember I had to use several pins for a velvet ant (cow killer) because the pins were getting dull, but eventually it worked.

Is your Megasoma well relaxed for pinning? Be sure it is!

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Pin it, near to the Pronotum and the Elytra left and right.

please have a look:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mashku/10675370935/in/album-72157639090229515/

 

That's an interesting approach, however there is an increased chance to break specimen's legs as they touching the bottom of the box. This is one of the reasons why specimens are "floating" with traditional pinning or most pin-less techniques.

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That's an interesting approach, however there is an increased chance to break specimen's legs as they touching the bottom of the box. This is one of the reasons why specimens are "floating" with traditional pinning or most pin-less techniques.

 

That looks risky. That part seems to be easily break down. I tried pinning with one stag beetle and that part was almost teared apart.

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That looks risky. That part seems to be easily break down. I tried pinning with one stag beetle and that part was almost teared apart.

Which part "almost teared apart", legs?

Watch some videos about pinning. Practice on locally caught and cheap beetles first. That's what I did when I re-started my hobby in 2009.

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Which part "almost teared apart", legs?

Watch some videos about pinning. Practice on locally caught and cheap beetles first. That's what I did when I re-started my hobby in 2009.

 

Hmmm rhino beetles are not that thick compare to stag beetle. But the problem was that the jointed legs are still hard as a rock. I relaxed them on hot water(replaced once) for 2~3hrs. Should I relax beetles for one day then?

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The muscles within dry and do not rehydrate well and you should feel them snap when you reposition legs without actually breaking the legs off if you've rehydrated the joints.

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Hmmm rhino beetles are not that thick compare to stag beetle. But the problem was that the jointed legs are still hard as a rock. I relaxed them on hot water(replaced once) for 2~3hrs. Should I relax beetles for one day then?

 

Stiff legs is quite a common problem. Yes, you can keep beetles for even 2-3 days in water if needed. Boil water to decrease the chance of mold formation. Wrap your relaxation container in a towel to keep it warm as long as possible.

Some entomologist recommend hot mixture of distilled water, ethanol and vinegar in proportions 7:2:1. Such mixture will help softening stiff joints and definitely no mold will form.

For very stubborn joints you can use 4-5% white vinegar (table vinegar) for a few hours - up to two days. If you used vinegar be sure to rinse it out several times with boiled water (water doesn't have to be hot, but should be sterilized by boiling).

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The smells are unfortunately something you'll have to get used to if you're not placing them in a container. Large beetles are just filled with muscle and fat that decay and produce a rather strong odor when preserved. Dehydrating their muscles by soaking them alcohol prior to pinning while they're still very freshly dead can help prevent some odor, but you won't be able to avoid it entirely. Acetone can be used to dissolve the fats, which also reduces the odor, but can damage certain specimens. There is pretty much no way to get rid of the odor of a long-dead beetle, though.

 

Insects are usually preserved and then stored in a relatively air-tight container for the reason of protecting the specimens and to hold in the rather awful odors some of them can put off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Make relaxing fluid.

I take Lysol concentrate and add some to water.

Putting it in a sealed Tupperware with paper towels wet with the relaxing fluid softens them up perfectly the amount of days depends on the size of the beetle.

I like pinning them with the legs out, I prefer pins because it is tried and true and makes inspection of the underside easy.

If it drops the price of my big specimens! I don't care, beetles with the legs all folded up under and not pinned don't make any sense to me, unless you are just saving it to sell one day.

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