How To Start Pinning Butterflies and Insects

May 01, 2016

How To Start Pinning Butterflies and Insects

How To Start Pinning Butterflies and Insects

If you plan on starting any type of insect collection, pinning your bugs is the most effective way of preservation for most types of insects with exoskeletons. At first glance you may think that pinning insects is as simple as taking your dried insect, poking it to a board and being finished. While that basic principle may be true, the exact details to ensure your displays look beautiful and natural are much more advanced. Here’s a basic overview of pinning butterflies and other insects:

Using The Right Pins

When you are pinning butterflies or any other type of insect, you need to use the proper pins. Insect preservation pins are different than a standard pin because they are much longer and thinner. By being thinner it ensures the pin is not visible so it does not detract from the overall appearance of your collection. Long pins also allow you to add depth to your displays and even hold insect labels if you choose.

Different Types Of Pinning Techniques

Depending on the type of insect that you will be pinning, the actual way that you pin them to your board will differ. No matter which type of order you are pinning, you want to make sure that the insect being pinned is perfectly perpendicular to the pin itself so it is parallel on the display.

The proper pinning technique for beetles is to pass the pin directly through the outer right wing, through the thorax. For flies and wasps, the pin should go between the bases of each forewing. Other insects, such as butterflies need special requirements to ensure the wings will appear correctly but the pin eventually is placed directly in the center of the thorax.

For extremely delicate insects or ones that are very small, you may not pass the pin through the body at all. Instead, the insect may be glued onto the tip of the pin or to a small card with identification data.

Spreading Board Use For Pinning Butterflies

If you are pinning butterflies, moths, or other insects you must take extra care to ensure the wings are displayed properly. To do this, a process that uses a spreading board is necessary. With a spreading board, you will be able to position the wings of the butterfly into their desired position and hold them against include wood.

This allows the wings to dry spread out so they stiff in a natural and appealing way. If you do not use a spreading board to pin your butterflies, their wings may droop or eventually become damaged and ruin your specimen.

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