How do you kill insects for collection?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Syzygys, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I am watching a movie about butterflies and I remember when we were kids we had a hard time to kill any collected insect without damaging their bodies, because they were needed for the collection.

    So how pros kill the captured insects without destroying their bodies???
     
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  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    in 4H we killed them with a cotton ball soaked in finger nail polish remover. It was a bitch trying to hold it over their itty bitty mouths. Be careful, those butterfly put up a hell of a fight.

    OK, we just put them in a closed jar with the soaked cotton ball.
     
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  7. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    To keep butterflies from damaging their delicate wings in their death throes, you would place a cotton swap soaked in ammonia or alcohol in the bottom of a jar, place toilet paper on top of that (leaving only enough room for the insect to not be crushed), then place it in jar and fasten the lid. That was how my amateur entomologist books said to do it. I imagine professional entomologists have even more sophisticated methods.
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    professionals can afford tazers
     
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Years ago, when children could buy quart bottles of carbon tetrachloride at the drugstore, I used to use a layer of rubber bands soaked in carbon tet at the bottom of a jar, with a perforated cardboard divider to keep the insects dry. Some thin strips of soft paper vertical in the jar prevented wing damage.

    The pros used cyanide. The drugstore would not sell me cyanide.

    You can kill a butterfly by pinching its thorax sideways with your fingernails for a few seconds (you are stopping its heart and blocking oxygen flow to its head). That would probably work for a lot of flying insects, such as wasps, but I never tried.
     
  10. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    Can't you just put them in an airtight jar and just let them suffocate? Then you wouldn't do any damage to the body. :shrug:
     
  11. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    But they will damage themselves (butterflies anyway) trying to escape before they die. And as little oxygen as an insect needs to survive, it would take a very long time for them to run out.

    Things have moved on in the thirty plus years since I was running around playing junior entomologist with my home made butterfly net.

    Killing jar
     
  12. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    I suggest we don't tell Enmos about the Killing Jar...

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    I remember the days of putting Caterpillars in a jar with holes punched out in the lid, with sticks and leaves. You can buy kits now for the kids with a special mesh cage, tweezers, magnifying glass, nets. My boys used to love that thing when they were younger.
     
  13. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I wasn't just talking about butterflies but hard bodied insects too. I was thinking of a glass upside down with a candle in it, that would use up the oxygen fairly fast.

    When we were kids we sprayed Raid (or similar to it) on a beetle type of bug and although the bug was soaking in it, it wouldn't die. Also some of them breath through their lower body so you have to spray that part, not the face...

    Since I keep finding this smelly bugs in the house I might make an experience with the candle trick...
     
  14. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    You use a camera :bugeye:

    As for how the 'professionals' do it: CO[sub]2[/sub].
     
  15. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    Nail polish remover will affect their colors.
     
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Use hairspray
     
  17. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    Can I use hairspray on you first ?
     
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Merci mon ami but I don't flap my wings
     
  19. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    So ? You realize that using hairspray is complete torture, right ?
     
  20. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    You are watching a movie about butterflies and all you can think of is killing them ?
     
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    "we murder to dissect"
     
  22. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    What is that supposed to mean ?

    A lot of people here are total hypocrites.
    They are against animal testing because they have this image in their mind of that poor bunny with the eaten away eyes.. but, oh, it doesn't matter if it's just an insect.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    It's a poem by William Wordsworth:

    Sweet is the lore that nature brings
    Our meddling intellect
    Mis-shapes the beautious form of things
    We murder to dissect


    I'd say pinning an insect is how most insect studies have been done from the beginning.
     

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