Sunday, September 14, 2008

Temporary Storage of Specimens-Refrigeration and Freezing

Refrigeration and Freezing

Medium to large specimens may be left in tightly closed bottles for several days in a refrigerator and still remain in good condition for pinning as will smaller specimens if left overnight. Some moisture must be present in the containers so that the specimens do not become “freeze-dried,” but if there is too much moisture, it will condense on the inside of the bottle as soon as it becomes chilled. Absorbent paper placed between the jar and the insects will keep them dry. When specimens are removed for further treatment, place them immediately on absorbent paper to prevent moisture from condensing on them.

Insects may be placed in alcohol, as described previously, and kept for several years before they are pinned or otherwise treated. However, it has been shown that many insects, especially small ones, can deteriorate in alcohol stored at room temperature. Long term storage of specimens that suffer from this kind of deterioration can be lessened by storing the containers in a freezer. Even though the alcohol will not freeze at the temperatures obtained by most ordinary freezers, the lower temperature seems to slow or stop deterioration of the specimens.

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