We describe how to use display insects and other natural history items in vials of hand sanitizer. Good for displays where people want to look closely and handle specimens and has wonderful visual
We describe how to use display insects and other natural history items in vials of hand sanitizer. Good for displays where people want to look closely and handle specimens and has wonderful visual effects.
How To Preserve Insect Specimens in Hand Sanitizer By DejenMengis, Carl White, Moriah Browning, Denise Williams, Sarah Fisher
Purpose and History Hand sanitizer is a gelled alcohol and can be used to create very cool insect specimen displays that, unlike pinned specimens, can be handled by children and the public Specimens will appear to float in air inside the vials and do not sink or move despite any amount of handling (Sam Droege has kept a vial in his pocket for 2 months without any shifting, for example) This technique was shown to us by Wayne White, BCE, of American Pest who has used hand sanitizer to preserve and display bed bug specimens
Choose a dried, alcohol- or glycol- preserved specimen
Which Specimens to Use? Specimens that have been in alcohol, glycol, or dried work well Specimens that are freshly killed appear to dissolve the gel in the sanitizer for some reason
Move the specimen toward the bottom of the vial with a probe
Bubble Removal: Water Bath Method At this point, there are probably many air bubbles in the vial. The next series of slides demonstrates how to remove these bubbles Air also exists inside specimens and needs to be removed or bubbles will gradually migrate outside the specimen over time
Position the specimen as preferred Even dried specimens become flexible
Tips… Thoroughly clean vials before use You can add labels to vials that “float” You can add things like beads, dried flowers, sand etc. that will also float in place…and makes good “clean” fun for kids to make their own insect dioramas. OK, some adults like this too Always be sure to overfill with hand sanitizer and if possible permanently seal the vials to eliminate bubbles
Alternative Bubble Removal: Vacuum Works reasonably well but….
Specimens and hand sanitizer tend to bubble out of the vial more easily as air bubbles expand under vacuum
Not as efficient as heating in removing all the bubbles in the vial