Once you have insects stored, you are ready to pin! Today I’ll be sharing how to properly pin an insect.
Pinning the First Pin through the Body
It’s probably no surprise that there are rules that go with pinning insects. How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue University quite nicely outlines the information on how to pin. I’ll try to pick out some highlights for you here.
- Each insect that is big enough to be pinned through the body without breaking will get a pin directly through the body- usually to the right side and between the first and second appendages on the thorax. The pinning location does vary by insect order though so you need to read the rules!
- The size of the pin (0, 1, 2, 3) is dependent on the size of the insect you are pinning. Smaller insects use smaller pins and vice versa.
- You want to be sure that the insect on the pin is not tilted– either side to side or up and down. It needs to be straight on the pin.
- If your insect does not have wings or it is not typical to spread the wings of this particular insect, then you can pin the legs and antennae into position while the insect dries. That’s when quilting pins are useful.
Spreading Insect Wings
An insect with its wings spread out can look fantastic in a collection. It’s a careful job to be sure! You can check out this advice on spreading wings, but here are a few more tips.
- Place the winged pinned insect on the spreading board in the valley. You may have to adjust the width of the board to accommodate large insects.
- Use a size zero pin to gently pull the wing along the surface of the spreading board. When you get it to where you want it, use a slice of glassine envelope with the quilting pins to hold it into place. You want to be very purposeful with this motion.
- Once you have the first pin in place, then you can add more as you see below.
- As the insect dries, you can leave the coverings in place to protect the wing- especially those wings with scales as in butterflies and moths.
Once your insects are pinned, you need to let them dry for a few weeks before placing them into a case. You want to be sure they dry to avoid odors and you have to keep the whole thing dry to make sure nothing like mold grows on your specimens or that it doesn’t attract parasites which can eat the insect from the inside out. Yes, that is as gross as it sounds.
The last post in this series is all about the finished display of insects and preparing it with official entomological guidelines.
Other bloggers are sharing their iHN Hopscotch Series this week. Be sure to visit them!