Lab 7: Collecting & Preserving 4 – Farm Field Trip

In this lab you will observe and collect insects found in various locations around a farm.   


The main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1.   learn where to look for insects on a farm and collect them safely
  2.   recognize the economic importance of pests and beneficial insects


1. Review

Before lab, review: “Lab 7 Details” on the course Moodle site; the video above; and appropriate parts of the Insect Collection Instructions.

2. Bring Materials for Lab

See the list at the bottom of this page (IMPORTANT: if you do not bring these materials, you will not be be able to complete this lab)

3. Prepare Collecting Materials:

Prepare 3 vials of Kahles solution (in lab), 3 vials of alcohol (in lab), and 7 temporary labels (i.e. 1 for each vial, and 1 for your killing jar); “recharge” your killing jar with a few drops of ethyl acetate from your squeeze bottle.

4. Travel to Farm for Insect Collecting

We will travel to a local research farm to collect insects from agricultural fields, around barns, manure, sewage lagoons, stagnant water, pest-infested honeybee colonies, goldenrod galls, ornamental trees, and acorns.

DE STUDENTS:  If it is not possible to visit a farm, look for agricultural pests in local vegetable gardens, comb for fleas on a pet dog or cat, investigate road kill for saprophytes, and look for seed feeders inside acorns or ears of late season sweet corn. You may also find interesting insects by making pitfall traps, digging into compost piles, or collecting around lights at night.

5. Lab Exercise:  Work on Insect Collection

This is an ideal opportunity to preserve, label and identify specimens from this field trip, and work toward meeting the requirements for the Insect Collection.


You will need the following materials for this lab:

  • Collecting gear
  • Preserving gear
  • Temporary labels (hand-written in pencil only on small pieces of paper)
  • 70% ethyl alcohol and “Kahle’s Solution” (both provided in lab)
  • Smartphone or computer, to access class website.