1) 1 piece of 12 in x 12 in foam board (dollar store, just cut to size)
2) A jar with a lid
3) Cotton balls
4) Isopropyl alcohol, acetone, or ethyl acetate or some baggies and your freezer
6) An identification key such as a field guide like the one above or the one at bugguide.net, or a key designed specifically for insects in your state such as this one. Learn to identify insects to order. Some common orders include: a) Coleoptera – beetles; b) Hymenoptera – wasps, bees, ants; c) Diptera – flies, mosquitoes.
Guidelines: Keep the chemicals away from young children. Lightly dampen a cotton ball with the chemical of choice and put it in the “kill jar” with lid on tight. Alternatively you can put insects in a plastic baggie in the freezer. They die very quickly this way and there are no chemicals to worry about.
Collect insects, place them in kill jar or freezer. Identify them and then, using a glue stick, cut out and stick the order label on the form board, placing the insects in that order beneath the label. Download a pre-printed sheet of the most common insect orders here.
Now time to pin. Be careful. Be gentle. You will need to make a pin block which could simply be several squares of foam board glued together to the desired thickness. This graphic will explain why.
For some more advanced pinning, including butterflies, and to make a more meticulous pinning board watch this clip.
A big thanks to HIS, Inc. board member Dr. Gordon Wilson for his expertise in designing and providing guidance for this post.
Have fun and get collecting!