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Build Your Own Insect Collection With Ms. Trisha - Introduction

Ms. Trisha
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(46)
Does your student need or want to build a collection? Join Ms. Trisha every week and curate your collection with her! - MATERIALS REQUIRED

Class experience

US Grade 4 - 6
This class is taught in English.
Ms. Trisha has a bachelor's in entomology and has been building her collection for 22 years. 
Homework Offered
Students will need to collect insects outside of class.
0 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Learners will need to go through this list and build their materials for their class. I gave many options. If you have questions please feel free to reach out. 
1. Method of collecting insects
2. Method for killing insects
3. Pinning Materials
4. Labeling Materials
5. Collection Protection

For Collecting Insects:
1) Butterfly Net (Optional) [$17]
This is a professional butterfly net. You can also find less expensive nets on amazon. 

2) 12 inch forceps (Optional) [$15]
These are great for collecting if you are in a desert region. These super long forceps will help you pick insects off of cacti! I also use them to feed my tarantulas. :) 

3) By Hand [Free]
Students can collect insects by hand. Keep in mind that students SHOULD NOT try to collect venomous insects, butterflies, or moths with their hands. 

Insect Killing Method (3 options):
Option 1: Into Ethanol Vials
1) 70% Denatured Ethanol [$10]
2) 2 dram vial [$6]
These will be what you are collecting beetles, ants, and hard-bodied insects into.

Option 2: Into Kill Jars
1) Kill Jar & Ethyl Acetate [$16] OR Jar & Nail polish [Household Supplies]
You can use any container you would like including an old peanut butter jar with a cotton ball in it. You would then put NON-ACETONE nail polish remover on the cotton ball. This will do the same thing. If you check the ingredients, it should say "ethyl acetate" as the number 1 ingredient. 
2) Bead Bags (optional) [$7]
Some students choose to individually protect their specimens and write field labels for specimens while they are out. A bead bag like this is important for that. Keep in mind that if you are writing with an archival pen OR pencil, it will not bleed when it gets wet: https://www.amazon.com/Edvision-Plastic-Resealable-Reclosable-Supplies/dp/B085TL858G/

Option 3: Bags and the Freezer [FREE]
1) For this third option, the insects have to stay in the freezer until you are ready to pin them. For that reason, it is generally frowned upon in the household. You can collect insects into a bag and place them in the freezer. They must be in the freezer for at least 72 hours before attempting to pin. 

For Pinning Insects
1) Pinning Box (Required)
Beginner Box [$23]
Professional Drawer [$43]

2) Insect Mounting Pins [$8] (Required)
Size 2 Insect Mounting Pins (any will work that you find online) 
My preference is Black Enamel coated like these: https://www.atelierjeanpaquet.com/en/product/entomological-pins-black-2/
Size 0 Insect Mounting Pins. These are optional but are GREAT to have if you are spreading butterflies and moths. They are generally used for pinning small insects. 

3) Teasing Needle (Straight) [$8] (Optional)
It is super helpful to have this when you are adjusting legs and antennae. Some students will just stick with using a pin. It just depends on comfort. https://www.amazon.com/DISSECTING-DISSECTION-STRAIGHT-HTI-BRAND/dp/B00M04W6NI/

4) Spreading Board [$2.50 each (buy at least 2)]
You can use the side with the groove for spreading wings of insects like butterflies, moths, praying mantids, and dragonflies. We will also flip it over to pin other insects on the flat side. It is generally smart to have 2 boards. If you would prefer, you can use 2 stacked 1/2" styrofoam sheets. These can be messy while putting the center groove in them. Don't worry about the 10 degree angle if they are homemade. 

5) Pinning Block (optional) [$3]
This helps students keep labels and insects at the same height. This is a great tool for beginners or students who may rush. Students eventually grow out of this tool.  

For collecting and spreading Butterflies: 
2) Butterfly Forceps / Stamp Tweezers [$6] (Optional)
These are smooth on the inside and they have a flat spade tip. They do not wipe scales off the wings.

3) Glassine Envelopes [$7] (Optional)
These are for collecting and spreading butterflies and moths. They do not wipe the scales off of the wings. You can sub wax paper for this item. 

For Labeling
Micron Pen [$6]
When students are making labels for their specimens, they will have 3 options:
1) New students may write their labels with pencil. Just know that pencils are not a long-lasting solution for your labels. Personally, I use pencil until I have 100 labels to print and I print them all at once. 
2) Print their labels on a LASER-jet. Labels should never be printed from an ink-jet. Most libraries and office supply stores print with laser jets. 
3) Hand write the labels using a micron pen with archival ink. 

For Protecting Your Collection
1) Paradichlorobenzene (Moth Crystals) [$19]
These protect your collection from insects that eat dead insects. DEFINITELY purchase these for your collection. If it is worth building, it is worth protecting. 

Students will be killing insects and mounting them. This can be a difficult task for young or sensitive students. I will stress the fact that we are doing this for educational purposes and the specimens when taken care of properly last longer than they would in the wild. The information we receive from insect collections is invaluable.
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(46)
Hi Ladies and Gents!

I am an entomologist and love teaching classes on insects and biology-related topics. I also love science experiments and getting outside! If you are a boy scout or a girl scout troop, I even teach the bug badges! 

If you... 
Group Class


1x per week
60 min

Completed by 3 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-12
1-10 learners per class

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