best method for killing bugs for macrography?

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:50 am
Location: new york city

best method for killing bugs for macrography?

Post by albert »

or narcotizing them?



Site Admin
Posts: 21134
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

Post by rjlittlefield »

Try freezing first. That's completely safe for you and will kill most subjects without altering their colors or structures. Some are freeze resistant and need lower temperatures and/or longer exposure. Condensation will be an issue. Be sure to let your subjects sit long enough to dry off after coming out of the freezer, unless of course you want that appearance of dewdrops.

CO2 (carbon dioxide) will anesthetize some species, but there are wide variations in its effectiveness.

If you want chemical killing agents, there's a wide variety. Ethyl acetate is one that's commonly used, works quickly, and is pretty safe for humans. But you can't buy it at the corner drug or hardware store. Acetone works, as does lighter fluid. There's a tendency for chemical agents to make specimens stiff and hard to work with.

Try freezing first.


Harold Gough
Posts: 5786
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 2:17 am
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

Post by Harold Gough »

The standard for butterflies in the old days, when collecting was respectable, was cyanide. An available source of hydrogen cyanide is by crushing the leaves of cherry laurel inside a glass jar, etc. The moisture also keeps the dead insects "relaxed".

If using ethyl acetate beware of use in a confined space as the fumes are quite intoxicating.

My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic