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How to freeze bugs

Michael Axel , Jul 21, 2009; 12:12 a.m.

I've seen some of the strangest bugs I've ever seen in my neck of the woods. As I would notice a couple dozen species in past years, there must be a hundred or more around this year. So I want to start shooting some of them with my bellows. What's the best way to get them to hold still? Capture them and put them in the freezer? Any suggestions... assuming I want to catch and release?


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Stephen Lewis , Jul 21, 2009; 12:15 a.m.

Maybe CO2 cartridges. the sort used in pellet guns and fizzy water contraptions?

Craig Meddaugh , Jul 21, 2009; 03:03 a.m.

Well, ideally you could shoot them in their natural environment. Barring that, if you are concerned about catch and release, use the fridge. The freezer will be too cold and you will find it rather easy to kill your insects. I believe that there are some anesthetic agents you could use as well, but I personally have no experience with them. You may want to contact your local entomologist (try a university or a local ag extension).

Antonio di Lussi , Jul 21, 2009; 01:12 p.m.

I would suggest that you do NOT engage in any catch and release activities, as you should shoot your subject(s) in their natural environment, without doing any harm to whatever living thing you are trying to shoot.

IMHO it is totally not done to catch animals, feed them, or to do anything that disturbs them in order to get the shot. How would you feel if somebody who wanted to take your picture would first capture you, stick you in the fridge, anethesize you, or subject you to whatever they deem necessary "to get the perfect shot"? Just my 2c.

Kent Staubus , Jul 22, 2009; 01:27 a.m.

We are now equating people to dung beetles? A bug is a bug.

Kent in SD

John Hanlon , Jul 22, 2009; 08:31 a.m.

Hello Kent,

You need to broaden your education. I suggest you read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dung_beetle Insects of all kinds are essential in maintaining our environment and food supply.

Kent Staubus , Jul 22, 2009; 09:33 a.m.

I already have two degrees and seven years of college, including a post grad in medical science. While bugs have their role, I certainly don't raise them to the moral equivalence of fellow human beings.

Kent in SD

Mary Doo , Jul 22, 2009; 09:53 a.m.

Hey, leave the dung beetle alone. LOL! It is one of the most important critters in Serengeti: http://thewildernessphotography.blogspot.com/2009/07/serengetis-most-important-critters.html

Btw, it's a bad idea to freeze a bug for photographic purposes. The bug looks DOA.

Antonio di Lussi , Jul 22, 2009; 12:40 p.m.

John & Mary,
Thanks for pointing out the importance of the insects in general, and the dung beetle in particular.

Nowhere have I equated bugs to people. That was your bit of generalization. I just wanted to appeal to the sense of ethics and respect for nature of my fellow wildlife photographers. This is the nature photography forum after all, isn't it?

Anyway, on the topic of "A bug is a bug": Insects are the most diverse group of animals on the planet, with more than 1 million described species (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect). Although many insect species are considered pests by humans, they are an extremely valuable part of earth's ecosystem. Without the insects, all other life on the planet would become extinct. Man included. Period. So some respect for even the humblest bug would be in order.

Sandra Odarp , Jul 22, 2009; 04:21 p.m.

even though they are bugs, they are part of the system... and they are also living beings, moreover, if you are taking photographs of them, they are the main subject, without which you would not be able to create that specific project on hand... so as a photographer i would respect them as i respect a human in terms of while photographing them.

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