Monday, May 23, 2011

My new garden project- an insect collection

One new project I didn’t add to my list of garden projects for 2011 is documenting all the insects in our garden in the form on an insect collection.  I am really excited about this project. I haven’t made an insect collection since my college entomology class, so I am eager to relearn some identification and preservation skills.  One of my inspirations for this project came from Jen Marangelo (who was in that college entomology class with me) who is starting the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium. 

Jen, who has quickly emerged as the insect-human liaison in Missoula, was eager to help me get my little project underway and quickly gave me a list of tools, equipment and supplies I needed to get stared.  Today a box of everything I ordered arrived (I should note that it took over a month to get all these supplies from a company I won’t be promoting anytime soon.). Nevertheless, all my stuff is here, and I am excited to start searching for, documenting and "preserving the biodiversity" of our garden!

If you don't know about the Missoula Butterfly House, it is a great cause, and in a moment with Jen and seeing her enthusiasm for the project, you know it is going to succeed.  The mission of the Missoula Butterfly House is to promote an appreciation and understanding of insects and their relatives through public education and the development of an invertebrate education facility- a year round tropical butterfly house and an insect zoo with live insects, spiders, etc and hands-on exhibits.

The Missoula Butterfly House is a wonderful idea, and needs your help to become established, so consider becoming a member- membership is only $35 (and tax deductible).

I'm going to go outside and look for some more bugs. 


  1. Great idea! I have been trying to photograph all the insects in the yard but like you I haven't done a collection since entomology class!

    Where did you order the collection equipment from?


  2. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for the comments! By the way, your blog is gorgeous, I really enjoy following it.
    As far as the collection equipment, I hate to give them a plug because of how lousy their customer service was but, Jen recommended them to me, so maybe I will give them a second chance? It was Bioquip- and I got their advanced insect collecting kit. Like I said their service is terrible, but their prices are good, and they were recommended to me.
    Good luck- I look forward to seeing your collection!

  3. All the killing that accompanies collecting saddens me.

  4. Hi Lisa and Robb,
    Thanks for commenting. Killing the insects is not the allure of an insect collection, but quickly killing and preserving insects is a part that I am thoughtful about. An insect collection is not about collecting and killing, but about learning, educating and gaining an appreciation for insects and wildlife.

    Thanks again,

  5. Hi David,

    Three items: 1) I notice your last name means "butterfly" in German! 2) If you ever get to Vienna, visit the Schmetterlinge Haus (which you could look up on the Web, so pretty), and 3)would you please consider a blog post on your experience or knowledge about bats and your bat house? I, for one, would find this tremendously helpful, and others may benefit in learning about this very helpful natural little mosquito (and more) predator.

    I just put up a triple partition bathouse, approved by the BCI, and want to have some tiny furry residents soon!!!! I think a post about these wonderful creatures would be quite apropriate considering the extensive mosquito season we are likely to start encountering any day now. Do you have a mosquito in your insect collection? Just teasing...

    You fan in Kalispell