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Drying large insects


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We were lucky enough to find some d. granti in Arizona a few weeks ago, and it has gotten me thinking about the best way to dry out the killed specimens without letting them rot. I have traditionally had good luck with just leaving pinned bugs in the open air (especially in Utah). In Florida I had a fan blowing over some large grasshoppers and walking sticks that were taking too long to dry. That worked remarkably well. 

This d. granti are taking a long time to dry out now though, does anyone have suggestions on how to speed up the process? I really don't want to risk them rotting and falling apart!

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If grasshopper and walking sticks took a while to dry out completely, it's going to be even harder for scarabs with its body mass and their characteristics. (Insects like stick insects or grasshoppers doesn't need that much of time or effort to dry it out).

One of quite an affordable method would be using a large amount of reusable silica gel. Pour in silica gel into a plastic container that is not too large, and then place (either pinned or unpinned) specimens on there, and close the lid. The plastic container should be air-tight one, without any holes. The key is to use a lot of silica gel with a container that is not too large to have too much empty spaces.

If you are serious about pinning and preserving insects, having large amount of collections, you might want to consider purchasing food dryer with large spaces in between trays or a unit without stacking trays. This is probably cheapest option with a help of electronics. There are other methods like a specially made low-temperature oven, dry-freezer, bottle sterilizer (dryer), etc.

In similar method, if you can build one that may be even better to serve your purpose. Use filament bulb that produces heat with fan inside a cabinet can imitate oven-like dryer. The specimens just has to be away from light to avoid any potential discoloration.

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small plug in wall heaters could work inside a box, I use one sometimes for exotic lepidoptera rearing, there are also ceramic heat emitters for reptiles

that could work. Personally, I've never had an issue with specimens rotting, even at my usual room humidity of 50%, I've had mantids shrivel up, but

there's no way to prevent that. You might be wanting to use wooden spreading boards with a heat source.

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