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(Return to Entomology)

This is a convenience page for keeping information about insect/mite collecting and preparation techniques.



A technique to dry mount Hymenoptera (Hexapoda) from alcohol in a few seconds, and its application to other insect orders
Using a blower.


Point Mounting Small Insects on Pins
Method for beetles.

I use a different method of handling and different glues: hide glue or shellac gel (because they are soluble in water and alcohol respectively.)

Pan Traps

Survey Protocols for Monitoring Status and Trends of Pollinators
Outline of how to use pan traps.
The International YPT Cookbook
Lubomir Masner's advice. Find it on page 26.

Malaise Traps

Can Townes type Malaise traps be improved? Some recent developments
Differing types of Malaise traps.
The Composite Insect Trap: An Innovative Combination Trap for Biologically Diverse Sampling
"The Composite Insect Trap incorporates elements from four different existing trapping methods: the cone trap, malaise trap, pan trap, and flight intercept trap."
An Alpine Malaise trap
Miniaturized and sticky.

Flight Intercept Traps

Sliding Down the V: A Low Cost and Efficient Flight Intercept Trap
A cheap. simple, portable flight intercept trap. Scarabs Occasional Issue Number 83 Print ISSN 1937-8343 Online ISSN 1937-8351 March, 2017, pg. 15.
Entomological classics – the Window (pane) Flight Intercept Trap
A survey of different styles of traps.

Sticky Traps

Insect Removal from Sticky Traps Using a Citrus Oil Solvent
Dipping in citrus oil, maybe ultrasonic cleaning, air drying, absolute alcohol final cleaning.

Winkler traps

$3 Homemade Winkler Sampler
Hamuli VOLUME 9, ISSUE 1 — MARCH 13, 2018
"Beware the explorer that takes a peek below a centimeter scale, for they may find such a vast and diverse bestiary that the larger world will hold little fascination."

Kerosine Flotation

The kerosine flotation trick is widely used by acarologists and entomologists with dirty samples. Take a sample in water, salt water, alcohol, or whatever that has a lot of soil or other heavy gunk in it. Add a bit of kerosine, and shake the sample gently. Kerosine wets (sticks to) chitin. Let the kerosine float to the top with the specimens, then decant the kerosine and specimens through a mesh filter. I have filter pans with fine stainless steel mesh, but you could use disposable paint filters. Wash the sample with absolute alcohol to dissolve off the kerosine, then enjoy your specimens.

Kerosene floatation extraction protocol
pages 131-6. Appendix III in "Biodiversity of soil arthropods in a native grassland in Alberta, Canada: obscure associations and effects of simulated climate change"

Baited Traps

Beetle Collecting 101: Fermenting bait traps for collecting longhorned beetles
Molasses/beer and red wine baits.


A review of methods for sampling arthropods in tree canopies
Non-fogging methods.
Sampling insects: general techniques, strategies and remarks
An excellent comparative survey of many techniques!
Sampling forest canopy arthropod biodiversity with three novel minimal-cost trap designs
Sticky, funnel, and flight intercept.
HDMS drying of fragile specimens
We do a one-hour initial soak, change the HMDS, leave them another hour, and then drain off the HMDS and leave the samples overnight in a fume hood to dry. Doug Yanega
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