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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Insect Collecting Guide

Light green cover with the title Insect Collecting Guide and a inset of a boy and young girl looking through a magnifying glass at some grass.

Sample pages of the Insect Collection Guide (644R) for online viewing are here. Print copies are available through local OSU Extension offices and online at the Extension Publishing store. (Ohio residents get the best price when they order and pick up their purchases through local Extension offices.)

Other OSU Extension Insect Collecting Resources

From Exploring Our Insect World

Our previous insect books became outdated but did have some unique information about collecting. Here are those pages:


Video: How to Preserve Insect Specimens: Pinning, Pointing, and Storing in Alcohol

To collect insects, you have to preserve them. Learn more about pinning, pointing, and storing in alcohol from an entomologist who does all three.


Video: How to Spread a Butterfly

Butterflies are some of the most appealing insects to collect. Find out how to show them off with step-by-step method for spreading butterfly wings.


Video: How Scientists Use Insect Collections

Scientists use insect collections to learn more about them, but also to learn more about technology and our planet. After all, insects are some of the most successful animals in the world!


Favorite Resources from Other Universities

Purdue University Youth Entomology

This site has pages of articles written especially for 4-H members. The section called How to Preserve Insects covers pinning large insects, pointing smaller ones, and storing ones with soft-bodies in liquid. Be sure to check out the How to Pin a Ground Beetle video

Insect Hunter Jason Thomas has a YouTube channel with fun and informative videos. Start with Intro to Insect Collecting Basics for Kids (Episode 1), and then keep your eyes open for links to episodes 2 through 5. 

NC STATE Agriculture and Life Sciences

Don't know what "pinning" and "pointing" are all about? Watch the two videos at A Guide to Mounting Insects on Pins for short, easy-to-follow explanations of both. 

Oregon State University 

Silvia Rondon gives careful and specific instructions on Pinning Butterflies and Moths, Pinning Large Insects, and Pinning Small Insects.

Your Insect Collecting Kit

This list of necessary insect collecting equipment includes all the basics for a smooth and expert start. Carolina Biological Supply Co. and NASCO are reputable suppliers. You may find others. 

Description (Qty.)
Featherweight Forceps, Wide Tip (1)
Entochrysis Insect Pins, Black, Size 1 (1)
Entochrysis Insect Pins, Black, Size 2 (1)
Magnifier, Double Lens, 10X, Plastic (1)
Pinning Block, Three Step (1)
Spreading Board, Styrofoam, Variable Groove (1)
Student Insect Net, 18" Handle, 12" Ring (1)
Folding Insect Box, Foam Pinning Bottom (6)

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