Lab 1: Collecting & Preserving 1 – Meadow Field Trip

In this lab you will observe insects commonly found in open field environments and learn how to collect and store them for later preservation. 


Main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1.   learn how to use the collecting equipment you pick up today
  2.   learn where to look for insects and how to collect them safely
  3.   learn how to store insect specimens for later preservation


1. Review

Before lab, review: “Lab 1 Details” on the course Moodle site; the video above; and appropriate parts of the Insect Collection Instructions.

2. Paperwork

Fill out Equipment Sign-Out form.

DISTANCE EDUCATION (DE) STUDENTS you need to sign out your collecting equipment by Friday of the second week of the semester, or you will need to purchase it on your own (see Moodle site for details).  Also, within the first 2 weeks of class you need to make arrangements for taking the Lab Practical Exams and other exams (see Moodle site for details).

3. Pick Up Equipment

You will be provided equipment (see materials list below) for collecting and preserving insects on your way to the bus for the field trip.

4. Travel to “Meadow” for Insect Collecting

You will be shown where and how to collect insects with your equipment in a meadow-like habitat. Make sure you collect a variety of insects (big , small, tiny) so you can meet the “5 orders” requirement for the Lab 2 Exercise. You will need a katydid for the Lab 2 Exercise.

5. Lab Exercise: Storing Specimens

Your specimens collected during the field trip today will be checked and graded in this lab to ensure you have stored them correctly.  For details of this lab exercise please see the ENT 425 Moodle site.  DE Students, please go to the ENT 425 Moodle site to see how to get graded.

Important Note: do not store your vials in your specimen box because they will roll around and smash your pinned specimens. Instead, keep them separately in your tote bag, ideally all together in a Ziploc bag.

…. And Another important Note:  the lab exercises together are worth 10% of the course grade, so it is important to participate in these.


You will need the following for this lab:

  1. Collecting and Preserving gear (signed out at beginning of lab = (a) 1 net; (b) Tote Bag 1 containing spreading board, killing jar, ethyl acetate squeeze bottle, trowel, magnifier, and tupperware (for storing insects in freezer prior to mounting); (c) Tote bag 2 containing specimen box (inside are pinning block, specimen viewing block, 20 vials, Lepidoptera triangles (2 sizes), several cut pieces of cardstock [specimen drying supports], pins and paper points, and paper points)
  2. Temporary labels (hand-written in pencil only on small pieces of paper)
  3. 70% ethyl alcohol and “Kahle’s Solution” (both provided in lab)
  4. Smartphone or computer, to access class website and Moodle site