Directions For Collecting
A convenient home-made net for catching insects; note the broom-stick handle, heavy twisted wire and mosquito net bag.
A cyanide jar for killing insects; note the lumps of the deadly poison potassium cyanide in the bottom covered and sealed by a layer of plaster of Paris.
Many boys and girls of the rural schools will have little time or inclination to provide themselves with apparatus for collecting insects. An old straw hat or a limb will serve their purpose. From their point of view what difference does it make if they tear off most of the legs and break the wings? They succeed in securing the "bug" and when pinned in the box it will mean just about as much to them as the most perfect specimen ever prepared.
This method of catching insects will prove effective where nothing better is available, but any child can easily make a small insect net by attaching a loop of fairly stiff wire to a broom handle or other stick and sewing a bag of mosquito netting or other thin cloth to the wire. By means of such a net one can catch insects more easily and at the same time there is less danger of tearing such insects as butterflies. Care must be taken in handling the stinging insects.
The country boy and girl will have little trouble getting hold of insects, but they are often puzzled when it comes to killing them. It seems cruel to pin up an insect alive and have it squirm for a day or two and some means of killing them should be devised. Most of the soft insects, such as flies, butterflies, etc., can be killed by pressing their body, in the region of the wings, between one's thumb and forefinger. Such forms as beetles and wasps can be quickly killed by dropping them into coal oil or a strong soap suds. Any method which can be devised for quickly killing the insect, and which will not seriously mutilate it, can be used.
A convenient killing bottle can be made by sealing a few small lumps of the deadly poison, potassium or sodium cyanide, in the bottom of a strong, wide-mouthed bottle, with plaster of Paris; or a few drops of chloroform or ether on a wad of cotton in a similar bottle, will also serve as a convenient killing jar.
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