Montag, 7. Mai 2012

How to display Insects

Do you know that problem? You are outdoors and find a death butterfly or a well-preserved beetle. You take it home and want to display it but don’t know how. Dead insects are often very fragile, just think about the antennae or the filigree legs. Well, after some years collecting bugs I got some know-how and I want to tell you about it. There are many ways how you can dissect insects. Many more then one entry can contain, especially when talking about advanced methods.

The beetle is bugged

If you find a death insect it often has some “roomers”. I’m talking about beetles which are specialized on eating dead insects, such as Anthrenus museorum (what a devil!). You either have to put your death insect into a bath of acetone or cook it about an hour in hot water (don’t boil it). You also can put your insect in an air-proof box, which is the way I do it. If you want to put your insect into a new pose you have to cook it in hot water first.


There is a very easy way to preserve insects. You can simply put them into a jar filled with alcohol. You should use 70% alcohol and mix it with a bit glycerin (but only 5-10%). Of course, if you have a butterfly or a dragonfly it would not look very awesome. That’s why I use boxes of acrylic glass for those kinds of insects.

Scorpion in a jar.

Boxes and cans

I love boxes made of acrylic glass. They are sturdy, clear and air-proof. I put a sheet of “Depron” (a kind of foam) in it and than I glue the dry insect on that piece of foam. That’s all. You don’t have to take care if your insects have some parasites, because after a month they will be choked. That’s a clean thing. If you display your collection in such boxes you can carry them very easily and they look neat.

A part of my collection. Still needs labels...


You can put your insect into epoxy as well, but I think it’s too expensive and it’s time-intensive. Also it could burn yellowish after a few years.


The classical way to display insects is to put needles through their body. You can buy special needles for insects or you use tiny needles which you can find in handicraft shops. Pierced insects look very neat in a showcase. But pay attention: The insects must be debugged before you put them in the showcase! I lost 80% of my collection within my showcase because I didn’t “de-bug” it. But I don’t like to pierce my insects. If you have a tiny insect it would look weird with a needle in it.

So, I hope that my hints and tricks help you and your insect collection. If I forgot something or told something wrong, fell free to correct me.
Thanks for reading!

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