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The Tweezer That Makes a Difference

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  • Sam Droege
    Hi All: Once again the U.S. Federal Government has sponsored new research that has led to a major discovery (at least to themselves)... Tweezers make a
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 26, 2009
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      Hi All:


      Once again the U.S. Federal Government has sponsored new research that has led to a major discovery (at least to themselves)...

      Tweezers make a difference…

      Recently, as we have been testing out processing schemes for large scale bee surveys, we have shifted away from working with fresh specimens to working with dry specimens.  The reasons for that have to do with efficiencies’ of storage of specimens and speed of processing.  We will be putting out another email on that entire process in a few days.

      However, amidst all the trials and ideas that got us nowhere was the discovery of some very nice tweezers that  have made a large difference in our abilities to sort, pin, identify and manage dried specimens.  They are quite useful for fresh specimens too.

      These tweezers fall into the class of:

      Reverse Action Tweezers  

      Electronics types use reverse action tweezers…entomologist seem to only rarely.

      In normal tweezerdom a tweezer left unattended is a tweezer that is open at its tips.  You, the practitioner, use your fingers to close that gap.  If you let go, the tweezers open and the thing that you were holding is released.

      In reverse tweezerdom a tweezer left unattended is closed at the tips and kept that way by clever metalwork.  You, the practitioner, use pressure from your fingers to open that gap and when you let go the tweezer tips essentially clamp to whatever it is you have placed between them.

      Why is this useful?….I am glad you asked.

      A reverse action tweezer is useful in that picking up specimens only requires the quick opening and closing of the tweezer tips.  The remainder of the time the specimen remains clamped firmly to the tips of the tweezers and can be manipulated under the scope or moved while shifting  finger position or simply holding the tweezers in a relaxed manner.  Sounds like no big deal, but it frees up your options, greatly (at least in my opinion).

      Now, as I am sure you already knew, there are a several of types of reverse action tweezers….some have the expected sharp tips, others have a set of two tiny, tiny, teeth in opposing directions on the tips, some are bent, some have small cages at the ends, some are flat tipped. We have found that the pointy tipped versions often are ok, but often apply too much pressure to a single point on the animal in addition to often annoyingly grabbing the foam substrate.

      Our current favorite type has flattened tips, is bent at a 30 degree angle, and is very precisely fit.  You can check it out at:

      http://www.tdiinternational.com/usr/tweezers/indv-models/SMD/sm-100.html

      Likely there are other companies that make the same thing.

      Another very helpful thing about these particular types of tweezers is that they are great at grabbing and holding loose pins.  When gluing specimens to pins (we now glue almost all our specimens that we don’t archive) we pick up a pin with the tweezers (which holds it quite firmly), touch it to an edge of a specimen tray that has a line of glue on it and then place the glue section of the pin on a specimen that is lying on piece of foam and leave it there to dry for a few minutes.  We will do a whole batch on a sheet of foam at once and it's very fast and precise.

      As an aside, when using these tweezers I am usually grabbing a wing, which never breaks, however, as I am often picking out something like 1000 Lasioglossum pilosums, I just grab whatever leg or antennae is nearest and even with relatively rough handling they rarely break off.

      While using other, old-fashioned tweezers the thought “this is a lot of fun” is a thought that never enters my head, however, every time I use these new tweezers I am constantly thinking how much fun they are to use.  Can you say that about your tweezers?

      Sam

      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      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
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Soli potestis prohibere ignes silvarum.
      Only you are can prevent forest fires.

    • OOWONBS@Netscape.net
      Doctors use these too. The nice thing about RAT is that they exert only the defined design force, and no more. Someone heavy handed or w coffee jitters could
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 27, 2009
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        Doctors use these too.
        The nice thing about RAT is that they exert only the defined
        design force, and no more. Someone heavy handed or w coffee
        jitters could damage a specimen with Tweezers, now and then.
        RATweezers make this far less likely, & reduce carpel tunnel.

        Try med sup co's.

        BillSF9c

        >These tweezers fall into the class of:
        Reverse Action Tweezers
        Electronics types use reverse action tweezers?entomologist seem to only
        rarely.
        In normal tweezerdom a tweezer left unattended is a tweezer that is open
        at its tips. You, the practitioner, use your fingers to close that gap.
        If you let go, the tweezers open and the thing that you were holding is
        released.
        In reverse tweezerdom a tweezer left unattended is closed at the tips and
        kept that way by clever metalwork. You, the practitioner, use pressure
        from your fingers to open that gap and when you let go the tweezer tips
        essentially clamp to whatever it is you have placed between them.
        Why is this useful??.I am glad you asked.
        A reverse action tweezer is useful in that picking up specimens only
        requires the quick opening and closing of the tweezer tips. The remainder
        of the time the specimen remains clamped firmly to the tips of the
        tweezers and can be manipulated under the scope or moved while shifting
        finger position or simply holding the tweezers in a relaxed manner. Sounds
        like no big deal, but it frees up your options, greatly (at least in my
        opinion).--------------------------------------
      • Doug Yanega
        ... The only pair of RATs I ve ever seen (and I still have them - I was given them as a child for my stamp-collecting hobby) would utterly crush any insect
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 27, 2009
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          Re: [beemonitoring] The Tweezer That Makes a Differenc
          Doctors use these too.

          The nice thing about RAT is that they exert only the defined

          design force, and no more. Someone heavy handed or w coffee

          jitters could damage a specimen with Tweezers, now and then.

          RATweezers make this far less likely, & reduce carpel tunnel.

          Try med sup co's.

          The only pair of RATs I've ever seen (and I still have them - I was given them as a child for my stamp-collecting hobby) would utterly crush any insect specimens. I presume you're saying that there are some designs which exert only a very minimal force on anything between their tips? Do they have any such designs with fine tips that might be suitable for specimens of 1mm or so? If that's the case, then maybe if someone finds such a design for sale somewhere, it might be good to share the info.
          --

          Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
          Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
          phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                       http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
            "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                  is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
        • Sam Droege
          Doug: The site I listed in the original post (TDI) had several models, the one I indicated is so nicely designed that it will work on 1mm specimens if you pick
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 27, 2009
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            Doug:

            The site I listed in the original post (TDI) had several models, the one I indicated is so nicely designed that it will work on 1mm specimens if you pick them up by the wing but even legs work a high percentage of the time.  The also have pointed ones including ones with replacable tips that could be machined into different shapes.

            Check out:

            http://www.tdiinternational.com/home.html?lang=en-us&target=d101.html

            sam

                                                           
            Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
            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
            Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov


            Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
            And merry is only a mask of sad,
            But, sober on a fund of joy,
            The woods at heart are glad.
                  Emerson, Waldeinsamkeit



            From:Doug Yanega <dyanega@...>
            To:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
            Date:04/27/2009 05:02 PM
            Subject:Re: [beemonitoring] The Tweezer That Makes a Difference
            Sent by:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com








            Doctors use these too.

            The nice thing about RAT is that they exert only the defined

            design force, and no more. Someone heavy handed or w coffee

            jitters could damage a specimen with Tweezers, now and then.

            RATweezers make this far less likely, & reduce carpel tunnel.

            Try med sup co's.

            The only pair of RATs I've ever seen (and I still have them - I was given them as a child for my stamp-collecting hobby) would utterly crush any insect specimens. I presume you're saying that there are some designs which exert only a very minimal force on anything between their tips? Do they have any such designs with fine tips that might be suitable for specimens of 1mm or so? If that's the case, then maybe if someone finds such a design for sale somewhere, it might be good to share the info.
            --

            Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
            Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
            phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
                       
            http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
             "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
                   is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82



          • OOWONBS@Netscape.net
            ... given them as a child for my stamp-collecting hobby) would utterly crush any insect specimens. I presume you re saying that there are some designs which
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 28, 2009
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              >The only pair of RATs I've ever seen (and I still have them - I was
              given them as a child for my stamp-collecting hobby) would utterly 
              crush any insect specimens. I presume you're saying that there are
              some designs which exert only a very minimal force on anything
              between their tips?
              --

              Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology

              Doug? They cost more to begin with.
              Just take your any-RAT's and w needlenose, and maybe a vise,
              "adjust" the tension. TRY to keep your wrist rotation of the
              needlenose, "square" with the tweezers.

              BillSF9c
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