Preserving natural elements that you found is a great way to honor the living in death. Make sure to handle all found specimens with great care, especially insects.
When insects (and/or arachnids) die they become brittle and their legs, wings, antennas can break off very easily. When traveling I always keep a tupperware jar with a layer of paper towels on me to keep found insects safe in travel.
Often you will find that an insects head is turned sideways, their legs curl up or their wings fold in half post death. These are easy fixes once you relax your insect and/or arachnid. Relaxing an insect is restoring moisture into their brittle body for easy pinning. To do this you will need to create a relaxing chamber. There are many many ways you can create a relaxing chamber. I am going to share how I have done it for years. It's simple, fast and all items are easily accessible.
What you will need:
- Paper Towels
- Air Tight Container
Creating the Chamber:
- Grab your air tight container. I use a food storage container.
- Layer about 3 layers of a damp paper towel on the bottom of the container. You want the paper towels to be wet but not dripping. Too much water will damage certain specimens.
- Layer your largest, thickest insects down first. Make sure no insects are touching each other.
- Lay another 2-3 layers of damp paper towels on top of the first layer of insects. Put the medium sized insects on this layer.
- Do this until your smallest insects are towards the top.
- Cover your last layer of specimens with a paper towel.
- Seal and store in fridge.
- Butterflies usually take 2-3 days to relax. Beetles longer. Always check your insects legs to see if they are flexible. If legs can be moved they are ready to pin.
That's it. Simple, short and sweet.