Where to buy insect pinning supplies?

I want to pin some dead cicadas I found but cant find where to buy the supplies.


I get supplies from BioQuip: https://www.bioquip.com/


Thank you, any tips for pinning insects that I should know?


Pin size #2 is pretty standard, size 4 for larger insects. Those are the ones I use the most. You don’t need fancy pinning boards for most insects. I use a piece of styrofoam, and you can use pins to to gentle prop and hold legs and such where you would like them while the insect dries out. There are lots of detailed guides available online, but feel free to ask more detailed questions as you try it out.


Thank you! I want to try and pin a few cicadas I’ve found.


If you make a relaxing chamber and a spreading board, you can spread the wings on some of them, which will look cool.
A relaxing chamber is just a box with high humidity, to hydrate the bugs again so you can move the joints. Any sealed box with a wet paper towel in the bottom will work fine. Prop the bugs up off the paper towel, put a dash of mouthwash on the towel to cut down on smells, and leave for a few hours or until you can move the bug’s joints.
A spreading board is a foam board you can stick pins in easily. For cicadas, you’ll need one with a deep groove in it, for the body to go in. You can look up what they look like online, and pretty simply make one. I made one out of the posterboard foam stuff people use to make signs for protests.
Once you have a cicada relaxed, put a pin through it, and secure that pin into your spreading board. Then you can use tweezers or very careful fingertips to manipulate the wings until they open, and hold them open with strips of paper across the wings and pins through said paper. Once it dries back out, the cicada’s wings will stay that way. You might like to have a couple of specimens with their wings folded, and a couple with wings spread.
There are better instructional guides than this very brief description online.


I found a lot of stuff on Amazon.ca. As for pinning tecniques, download this pdf - AAFC_insects_and_arachnids_part_1_eng.pdf (esc-sec.ca)
All the information you will need to collect and preserve insects is in this volume.


Thank you!

How should I pin cicada nymphs?

@beetle_mch and @fishkeeper Would this work as a display case?

The whole nymph, or just an empty shell? Either way, probably you should just put a pin through the thorax. You might find the empty shells difficult to pin for their fragility.

As to the display case, that will work, but you’ll need to put a piece of foam in the bottom for the pins to stick into.

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Thank you, also what should I put in the case to prevent fungi growth?

I also get most of my inning supplies from https://www.bioquip.com/ and reccomend them based on quality.

I ordered that when I was first starting out, and it came in bad condition, sent it back, and they sent a new one, but that one came in even worse condition. One of my friends had the same issue when he ordered it.

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You should find no fungal growth if the bugs are all properly dried. Fungi need moisture to grow. A bigger concern is dermestids or other beetles eating the specimens, which can be prevented by tightly sealing the case to keep them out.

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Some ants will also try to get into specimen boxes that contain other ants, or insect species that those ants are known to eat.


Huh, I didn’t know they’d go after other ants. It makes sense they’d go after dead bugs, though them targeting dry ones seems odd. Maybe it continues to smell like a familiar prey species. Still, a tight-lidded case should keep them out.

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