Where and How to Collect Insects



As you can see, insects live in all kinds of places. Some are a real challenge to capture while others move slowly enough to be picked up by hand and put directly into a killing jar. If you think the insect may bite or sting, gently tap it into the jar with a twig, or use tweezers to pick it up. You will need an insect net for fast-moving insects.

An insect net, one of the optional things to make for this project, can be used in a variety of ways. You can use the net to scoop insects out of the air as they fly by, or you can sweep the net through weeds and flowers to catch whatever is hidden there. Some insects "play possum" when disturbed. To catch them, hold your net under plants and shake the insects off into the net.

Be very careful when catching stinging or biting insects. Try this special technique. Sweep the insect into the net and, with a quick jerk, force it to the bottom of the bag. Then grasp one hand around the bag just above the captured insect. Put the end of the bag with the insect into the killing jar. Place the jar lid over the mouth of the jar as tightly as you can, and wait until the insect becomes still. Then take the end of the bag out of the killing jar, quickly remove the stunned insect, and put it back into the killing jar.

Collecting moths and butterflies without damaging them requires special care. To keep these insects from escaping after being netted, whip the net so the insect goes to the bottom of the bag. Keep the insect trapped in the bottom of the bag by giving the net a flip so the bag bottom rests across the loop. Then pinch the thorax of the insect while it is still in the net. This will stun the moth or butterfly and keep it from beating the scales off its wings when it is put in the killing jar.