Whats the best way to relax beetles and other crunchy bugs?

What’s the best way to relax beetles and other crunchy bugs? So sorry in advance I am very dyslexic. The last time I tried to relax a crunchy beetle with a wet paper towel, the beetle got moldy.

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Try crushed laurel in a small pot. If you can find a cherry laurel bush, Prunus laurocerasus, pull off a few new leaves, tear up the leaves and pack them in the bottom of a tube. Or if you have lots of beetles needing relaxing, scale it up to a jam jar. You want about 1 cm of firmly packed laurel leaves. Then put a layer of paper tissue over them to give a clean base and soak up the moisture. After an hour or two, the leaves should have turned brown and if you take off the lid, you should smell marzipan. If so, put the beetles in and after a few days they should be relaxed. If the laurel doesn’t give off a marzipan smell, it isn’t any good - start again using a different bush. I think the active ingredient is a cyanide compound. You can store insects like this for years, just changing the laurel when it loses its smell.

One problem you might get is grease coming out of the insects and coating them, which spoils the colours and mats the hairs. I believe the remedy is to wash them in a small amount of petrol or ethyl acetate. Both are highly inflammable so not an indoor job.


Beetle collectors toss them into warm water with tiny bit of soap. This rapidly relaxes them and also helps to remove oils and cleans the specimen. True bugs works this way too. But most other insects need to go into a humidifier. Processing them in timely fashion helps to prevent mold.

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The fad these days is vodka, though I’ve had issues with it.

If you’re going to relax with water in paper towel, add alcohol to inhibit mold.

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