How to Freeze Dry Insects
29 SEP 2017
Capturing insects is a tricky proposition. Collecting insects to freeze dry makes the scheme even trickier. Freeze dried insects are often collected by farmers to use as feed. Scientists who accumulate freeze dried insects do so for reasons of experimentation and study of the creatures. It is possible to freeze dry nearly all varieties of insects -- from mosquitoes to ants -- and the process, once mastered, is easily repeated.
Gather the insects. Prepare enough solution to anesthetize and preserve -- as opposed to kill -- the targeted insects. Dilute the solution according to the directions. Nematoda, for example, requires a use of 10% of the actual formalin solution, a 70% alcohol substitution and 30% water. Amounts of adjusted solution will vary depending upon how many square feet you wish to cover. Spray the solution onto foliage, hay and other natural objects as necessary.
Turn on a suction vacuum with an attached collection bag. Aim the nozzle at branches and twigs where insects have become comatose. Suck up insects from off of the ground or on leaves. Shake foliage to remove hidden insects and make them easier to collect.
Remove insects from collection bag with tweezers. Pinch the insects gently and place them into Petri dishes. Position a maximum of five insects into one Petri dish -- depending on the size of the creatures. Secure lids to all of the dishes.
Place the Petri dishes carefully and immediately into a freeze drier set at -30 degrees Celsius. Keep insects frozen for 48 to 72 hours before removing.