How to collect specimens

Collecting live specimens

Ocassionally you will want to capture pests alive. Many people capture spiders, insects and other pests found in their home or office and release them outside. Perhaps you will want to take photos and share images with others. A live pest makes a more interesting photo than a dead specimen. There are small portable pooters or vacuum-like tubes that will suck small insects into a closed portion of the unit. A simple sealed jar or plastic container will also work. Avoid using zip-lock bags that most pests can easily eat their way through to freedom.

Many pests will move upwards when caught or confined. Use this behavior to your advantage by waiting until the pest moves up the sides of the jar and then carefully and quickly slide the lid closed below.

Collecting dead specimens

You may want to capture a specimen for delivery to a pest control expert for identification. Rubbing alcohol or ethanol makes an excellent solution for killing many small pests. Use a vial or container that will not leak. Old film cartridges are not a good idea.

Along with the specimen, keep a record of the location, date, collector and notes on biology or behavior. This will make your record of scientific value and assist experts in the identification process.

If you use sticky monitor traps you can keep the original release paper that covered the adhesive and place over the pest. Do not try to remove the pest from the glue or you will make the identification more difficult.

Once the specimen is dead you can take a photo and send this image to others for identification.

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