Methods For Relaxing Specimens
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     When the specimens are removed from storage dry (hard) you can use following methods for soft relaxing:

  a. "wavide" or "steamed water" method.
  b. carbon dioxide method.
  c. "Canadian" method.
  d. other methods


  a. "WAVIDE" or "STEAMEDWATER" method.

     Wavide solution: 4 parts of water
   l part of white vinegar
   l drop of detergent for every 20 - 50 ml of solution

   Give the specimen to "wavide solution" or at wet sand or wet tissue paper.

     From 10 minutes to 72 hours is depending on temperature of solution, the size and sclerotization of specimens.

     CAUTION : DANGER OF SUPERSATURATION (parts of antenna or  tarsae can fall off.)

     Very hard and very sclerotised specimens (as a some Cerambycidae,Curculionidae etc) can be submerge in boiling water or "wavide solution" from 5 minutes to 5 hours.



     To a wide necked bottle (jar) add a little vinegar and few drops of detergent, pour in carbonated water (=soda water) and fill to the lower edge of the neck of bottle. Place the insects inside and seal the bottle with an airtight lid.

  Remove insects after 15 - 60 minutes (depending on size, condition and sclerotisation of specimens).

 CAUTION : Do not leave insects in the carbonated water more  than 90 minutes, because appendages may be in  danger of falling off .

  Works quickly and is ideal for softening sclerotised insects.
  The enriched relaxant can be stabilized by carbon tetrachloride or benzine method.




     Pour into a bottle a solution containing 25% ammonia in water and fill to the lower edge of the neck of the bottle. Add the insects and seal with an airtight lid. leave insects in the bottle for 15 - 90 minutes (depending on size, condition, sclerotisation and strength of ammoniac solution).

  This method is ideal for returning small and less sclerotised insects to a soft and relaxed condition, without the danger of supersaturation. The enriched relaxant can be stabilized by carbon tetrachloride or benzine method.

   December 13, 1989



Beirne, B.P.
Collecting,preparing and preserving Insecta.,Sci.Service Publ.No.932,Canada Dept.of Agric., Ottawa 1955,113pp

Novak, K. & col.
Metody sberu a preparace hmyzu.,Academia Praha 1969, 244pp.

Pulpan Jean, & Winkler Josef
Nuovo metodo di conservatione a lungo termine degli insetti non preparati, in stato di idratazione (Metodo all'etere acetico- benzina-tetracloruro di carrbonio), Supp.Boll.Soc.Ent.Ital.,1974,71,p.5-8.

Winkler, J.R.
Rapida idratazione del materiale entomologico., Suppl Boll.Soc.Ent.Ital,1975,74,p.1-4.

Zahradnik J.,Severa Fr.
A field Guide in Colour to Insects., Octopus London 1977


Allen Sundolm recipe:
place specimen in a mixture of about 85% acetone and 15% water.
Takes longer, several hours or days, but seems to work. Excellent for chucking specimens in whilst on trips to keep them preserved and to degrease. Certainly works in that regard here in Australia, as we have many testaceous buprestidae which otherwise go dark if untreated as such before they are dried.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2019