Bugging Off (Again!)

July 21, 2017 , In: Inspiration

Here is part two of my new expedition into insect collecting and preservation!  As the summer swelters on down here, the insects just get bigger and weirder!  The best thing about this new hobby, is that I have been sharing the experience with several friends.  I am so happy to find people that appreciate insects on multiple levels, and are enthusiastic about learning more about them, including capturing and preserving.  Since I am still struggling with my creative drive and motivation in general, setting up bug hunts and watching for bugs when I am out and about has been a wonderful spark in my enthusiasm. 

Recent finds outside of Knoxville TN. The caterpillar decided to join in on the pinning action the next morning before capering off to its fate.

I have done several more night catches since my first one (documented here).  I am learning more tricks every time I set things up.  A black light combined with a simple halogen shop light has proved to be lost cost and quite an effective combination, though I’m jealous of the old sodium vapor barn light we get to use at my friend’s house.  Tucking your pants into boots is a necessity to keep ticks from finding a way to your skin.  The more rural the location the better, both due to habitat variety and lack of light pollution.  You probably won’t miss much if you wander away and just check back occasionally. 

Two large Imperial moths, a tiger moth, containers full of bounty from a night catch, along with sorted results of the catch, and a large green conehead katydid.

I have finally had to decide what to do with the critters I am catching.  Most of them are not really appropriate for wall display, being either too small or too delicate to handle in the way that is required of display mounting.  So for the things that I decide not to frame, I am keeping them all in a glass topped display case originally intended for jewelry.  One of my favorite things is that every insect here is native to Middle or East Tennessee.  I hope one day to make separate boxes for different states!  It would be really neat to be able to line up multiple cases and see how the insects change across the country. 

Some of the contents of my Tennessee collection…so far!

Beetles, a robber fly, and a cicada, all currently pinned and drying.

I have quite a few more bugs pinned and drying now.  I am really excited for the beetles to be ready, especially the large Eastern Hercules Beetle female.  I have an idea to place her in a baseball display box so you can see all four sides and top with no visual obstruction.  Similar to what I did with the very first beetle that I pinned in a flight pose and am now displaying in a golf ball box.

A few of my favorites so far, including a variety of moths, a leaf footed insect, and two beetles. My beetle in flight dried very nicely and I love finally having it in the display cube.

The bugs should keep moving for at least 2 more months here, so I hope to continue to add to my collection several more times this year.  I would like to find some more cicadas, particularly the larger species.  Maybe some of our native stick insects?  And of course more moths and beetles.  I only just caught my first butterfly, and perhaps one day I will be speedy enough to snag a dragonfly or damsel fly – I hear they are a bit of a challenge to preserve.



Lindsay Star

Lindsay Starr is a beadwork and mixed media artist currently based in Nashville, TN. She spent her early childhood in Alaska, and her school age and college years in Oregon. Lindsay has a great appreciation for history, science, and nature and is consistently inspired by insects, sea life, color, and the significance of beads and beadwork throughout human history. She spends her days beading, walking at the zoo, and practicing yoga. Lindsay loves to share her knowledge and passion for beads and beadwork to hobbyists of all skill levels.
    • Lauren
    • July 22, 2017

    I admire the skill involved on preserving these insects, but I can’t help but wonder – are you catching live insects?

    • Reply

      Yes! Everything you see was caught by me or a friend, all native to Tennessee.

  1. Reply

    These are amazing! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to manipulate them into the right position, and I love the one in the display box!

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