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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Insect Collecting Guide

We're going to continue to offer these free, online resources for the remainder of this program year:

From Exploring Our Insect World

Our previous insect books had great basic collecting information. Prefer to keep using those? Here are the pages about collecting:

New Videos!

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!

Also, we scoured the web and found fantastic resources from other unversities. You can link to our favorites right here:

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.

Kansas State University

Are you an advanced insect adventurer who wants to know more about making your collection the best it can be? Take a look at the judging tips in The Kansas 4-H Entomology Collection: A Project Exhibit.

Your Insect Collecting Kit

This list of necessary insect collecting equipment includes all the basics for a smooth and expert start. We've included the catalog number for supplier, BioQuip, but other suppliers like Carolina Biological Supply Co. and NASCO are good too. Prices may vary slighty from those listed below.

Description (Qty.) Catalog No. Price
Featherweight Forceps, Wide Tip (1) 4750 $5.40
Entochrysis Insect Pins, Black, Size 1 (1) 1203B1 $5.15
Entochrysis Insect Pins, Black, Size 2 (1) 1203B2 $5.15
Magnifier, Double Lens, 10X, Plastic (1) 1129G $1.65
Pinning Block, Three Step (1) 1144 $1.95
Spreading Board, Styrofoam, Variable Groove (1) 1024P $2.00
Student Insect Net, 18" Handle, 12" Ring (1) 7112NA $12.75
Folding Insect Box, Foam Pinning Bottom (6) 1002FX $30.00
TOTAL   $34.05

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