Labeling Your Insect Collection
As you might have predicted, there are rules on how to label an insect collection for display. Here are a few key points:
- Number Labels- Each insect in the collection gets a number. If it is a 4-H collection, a numbered insect must have been collected in the current fair year (not before the previous year’s fair). You can have those insects in a collection, but they cannot be numbered in that year’s collection. These labels are the last ones on the pin with the insect.
- Collection Labels- The first label on the insect pin (underneath the insect) is the collection information. Where the insect was collected and when along with the name of the collector.
- Identification Label- For 2nd year collections and up, you must include another label which goes between the number and collection information. It will have the family name of the insect as well as the genus and species. Correctly identifying the insect to the species is important for point value.
- Order Labels- These are larger labels and they are pinned inside the box. When you organize your collection do so by order.
- Common Name Labels- Required after the first year, these labels tell the common name of the insect and usually include a family name (so not just “fly” but “crane fly”)
Keeping a Collection Record
Along with all the labeling in the box, you must turn in a collection record. Since the collections are additive over the years, these records can be many pages long. Below are listed the information you need to keep:
- Insect Number- comes after you’ve labeled your insects
- Common Name- 2nd year and beyond
- Genus Species
- Locality- location of collection
- Date Collected
- Place Collected- what habitat
A first year collection only needs to be identified to the order. After that, more work is required!
Other Tips for Insect Displays
In addition to the labeling, here are a few more helpful hints:
- Group orders of insects together in the collection and place the order label nearby
- Numbers within an order should be chronological
- Place the vials toward the bottom of your collection- So if they come loose, they don’t wreck other insects in the box!
- Keep a collection record as you go- This is a time saver when you are preparing your collection for evaluation!
For more information on making displays, check out How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue which follows 4-H guidelines for entomology projects.
This has been an exciting project area for us this year. We’ve already started next year’s collection. As of publishing time for this post, the collection pictured here has won a blue ribbon and a project excellence for first year collections and is headed for the NY State Fair next month.
Enjoy the collecting!
Other bloggers in the iHN are sharing their series this week for 2014’s summer Hopscotch. Don’t forget to hop over!by