Re: [beemonitoring] Re-hydrating pinned specimens
- Perhaps someone has already mentioned this but one normally adds an anti-fungal agent to the relaxing chamber to avoid mold problems. This is particularly important when dealing with larger specimens which may take several days to properly relax. Phenol once was the agent of choice but it has since been abandoned due to its carcinogenic properties. A few drops of ethyl acetate will work with specimens you won't be subjecting to molecular analysis. H. Oldroyd "Collecting, preserving and studying insects; Hutchinson Scientific and Technical, 1958, London" recommends using a few moth balls (PDB or napthalene). I've found a heavy dose of alcohol in the water (rubbing will do) also works. Using warm water to start speeds the relaxing process.
Its best to open the jaws of megachilids when you pin them since their massive jaw muscles often make it very difficult to open them (and keep the head on or the jaws intact) after they've dried, even with extensive relaxing.
John L. Neff
Central Texas Melittological Institute
7307 Running Rope
Austin,TX 78731 USA