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Insect Collection Display

Make an Insect Collection Display

Introduction: (Initial Observation)

Learning about insects helps human to manage and control the environment. Such control allows us to benefit from some insects while preventing the harmful activities and damages caused by some others.

Making insect collection displays are great way to learn about insect and makes it possible to make a close observation of different insects.


This project guide contains information that you need in order to start your project. If you have any questions or need more support about this project, click on the “Ask Question” button on the top of this page to send me a message.

If you are new in doing science project, click on “How to Start” in the main page. There you will find helpful links that describe different types of science projects, scientific method, variables, hypothesis, graph, abstract and all other general basics that you need to know.

Project advisor

Information Gathering:

Find out about what you want to investigate. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the effect or area of study. Keep track of where you got your information from.

Insect Collection Display


What makes a good insect collection display? 


There are a couple of things that can make your insect collection display better then everyone else’s.


First, it is always good to have an identification label placed in the upper left-hand corner inside each box, and a duplicate label on the lower right outside corner of the box of your display. The label should show the exhibitors name, class, and the total number of orders and specimens in the display. The number of families that have been identified in the six basic orders is also good to have on your display. By families, we mean the taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus. A family usually consists of several genera.


Another very important part of your display is the arrangement of specimens.  The preferred method is to arrange the insects in groups or rows parallel to the short side of the box. Also, specimens are to be arranged in the box according to Order.


Remember that the two most important parts of an insect collection display are the variety of specimens and the overall neatness in appearance of the collection.


What specimens should I use and where can I get them?


It is up to you on what specimens you want to use for your display. However, it is a good idea to research on several insects and see what interests you. Once you have decided on the specimens to use for your display, either buy them at a store that sells preserved insects or catch the insects yourself. You can catch flying insects such as butterflies and bees with a net. Other insects such as grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, etc., can be caught by hand. However, be patient since it may take a while to catch them.


Once I got the insects, how do I pin them to the display box?


Different insects need to be pinned down by different parts of the body. The following how to pin several insects:

BEE–Pin bees, wasps, flies, dragonflies and other insects with similar wings through the thorax between the bases of the wings.

TRUE BUGS–Pin true bugs through the right comer of the scutellum. The scutellum is a triangular area with the point of the triangle pointing to the rear. In stink bugs the scutellum is large, but in other bugs it may be quite small.

BEETLES–Pin beetles to the right of the center line so that the pin emerges from the underside of the insect between the middle and hind legs of the right side. Do not pin so far back that the pin comes through the abdomen.

GRASSHOPPERS--Pin grasshoppers so that the pin emerges between the middle and hind legs of the right side. Insert the pin near the right hind margin of the pronotum. The pronotum is the saddle-shaped structure of the thorax just behind the head.

Question/ Purpose:

The purpose of an educational display is to learn more about the important, life cycle, biology, ecology, diversity, etc., of insects.

Objective: To construct an insect collection display.

Experiment Design:

Insect Collection displays are a great way to lean entomology. Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Most entomology displays are exhibited in Plexiglas covered wooden boxes with outside measurements of 18” x 24” x 3 ½”. However, a simple insect collection display can be made from a shoebox covered by a piece of plastic wrap or Plexiglas taped across the top of the box. Yet, if you can get a hold of a wooden box, it is much better for the overall appearance of your display

Create your Insect Display:

Pin the first Order of your collection to the upper left hand corner of the display box. Arrange the insects belonging to this Order in a neat group following the label. Leave some space so you can differentiate between the different Orders. Now attach the next Order labels and the insects of that Order until you finish all your Orders and Insects. Adjust the spacing between the groups to enhance the overall appearance of the collection. Two required labels should be centered on the pin beneath each specimen. The first label on the pin beneath the insect is the common name. The second label is the date/locality of the specimen. Labels may be positioned to run parallel with the length of the body, or crosswise in relation to the length of the body. Either arrangement is acceptable, but should all be the same throughout the collection. Make sure all the labels are neat and readable. All your specimens should also be intact. Remember, the overall appearance of your collection is the most important part so get rid of any damaged specimens.

Materials and Equipment:

    1. A box to contain your specimens. Preferably a wooden box. However, a shoe box will do.
    2. A piece of Plexiglas. However, you can substitute the glass with ceramic wrap.
    3. Pins
    4. Specimens
    5. Labels

Results of Experiment (Observation):

Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.

Summary of Results:

Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.


Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.

Related Questions & Answers:

What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

Possible Errors:

If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.


Visit your school or local library to find some information about insects. Name those books as a list of your references.