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Preparing Insect Labels:  A Faster Way
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Preparing Insect Labels: A Faster Way

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We demonstrate how to quickly cut and label museum insect specimens using razor blades and minimizing the movement of specimens, speeding up the process and decreasing specimen damage.

We demonstrate how to quickly cut and label museum insect specimens using razor blades and minimizing the movement of specimens, speeding up the process and decreasing specimen damage.

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. Preparing Specimen Labels: A Faster Way By Moriah Browning and Denise Williams
  • 2. Labeling: The Problem
    • Patuxent Native Bee Lab’s old method of label cutting involved using scissors to cut each label individually and arranging them on a pad of foam. Then specimens would be pinned to the labels and transferred into their designated box of specimens.
    • This method took a lot of time and space. We also had a problem with specimens being knocked off pins while we moved them between boxes.
    • After much trial and error, Patuxent Native Bee Lab discovered a faster, more efficient way to label specimens.
  • 3. Begin with a batch of uncut labels, a ruler, and a razor.
  • 4. Line up the ruler along the line that separates the rows of labels.
  • 5. With the ruler as a guide, use the razor to cut a strip of labels.
  • 6.  
  • 7.  
  • 8. Continue process until all the rows of labels have been cut.
  • 9. In a new box, without specimens, place a row of labels at the top of the foam.
  • 10. Without cutting the row of labels, add a pinned specimen to the first label.
  • 11. Add more specimens until every individual label in the row has a pinned specimen.
  • 12. Using a small pair of scissors, cut the lines in between labels.
  • 13. Continue to cut between labels until the whole row has been cut.
  • 14. Set up a new row of uncut labels underneath the row just cut.
  • 15. Start the process of placing pinned bees and cutting the individual labels again. Continue till you have completed all the rows of labels.
  • 16. Now your specimens are ready for identification.
  • 17. Correspondence can be sent to: Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov)