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310The Soap Collecting Jar

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  • Sam Droege
    Jun 4, 2008
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      This past week I went on a collecting trip and realized that my cyanide jar was near to expiring.  Since I usually dump specimens into alcohol or wash all bees caught while net collecting I thought I would just collect them out of the net directly using a small jar of soapy water (in this case something that was similar to a large film canister).  I thought it worked well enough that I would pass my observation on to this group, so you can try it too.  

      What I noticed was that if I filled the jar about half full or a little less with soapy water (using dish washing detergent) that it would form a constant head of suds while riding around in my pants pocket.  When I used it in the net it had the great advantage of immediately trapping any insect in the suds and thus I could clean out the net of as many specimens as I wished.  With a normal killing jar I could accumulate 2-4 specimens but at some point more would be leaving than going in.  This was particularly nice when dealing with large nasty specimens.

      I also found that while I had to be a bit more aware of how I carried the jar (water seeking its own level and all that) I can easily lug the jar around and use the jar to directly collect off of flowers without a net.  

      Like specimens caught in bowl traps, specimens can be readily left in the soapy water for 24-hours and, while a bit soggy, will last for 48 without too much degradation.

      So the advantages appear to me to be:

      Don't have to lug toxic chemicals around
      Soap and water are readily available
      Restrains specimens immediately
      Can collect all specimens in a net at one time
      Inconspicuous to the general public
      Pollen and gunk are washed off while in the vial


      No pollen analysis
      Specimens are wet
      Jar needs to be held a bit more upright when open than a normal killing jar
      If cap not on correctly the water can leak
      Specimens have to be dried prior to pinning


      Sam Droege  Sam_Droege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705
      Yes, the young sparrows
      If you treat them tenderly
      Thank you with droppings.
          - Issa

      P Please don't print this e-mail unless really needed.
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