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#1 2015-11-26 12:47:28

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hello,

One of my tasks this winter is to organise my jumbled specimens into a semblance of order. The large wooden cases are rather expensive for my means so I have been using some small 'Really Useful Boxes' which I line myself. I think this might be the route I go down as each family and sub-family can be placed in manageable units. However, they are not airtight. I wanted to ask others what they are using in order to generate some ideas.

Regards,
Andrew.


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#2 2015-11-26 13:44:32

conopid
DF Members
Name: Nigel Jones
From: Shrewsbury
Registered: 2008-02-27
Posts: 619
Website

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Andrew,
Many people are now using good quality thick cardboard boxes (much preferable to plastic which retains any moisture too efficiently and can cause specimens to go mouldy). The card boxes are then placed inside large zipseal bags to keep pests out - the boxes inside tend to soak up any tiny amount of moisture so mould is less of a problem that in plastic boxes. It works well. Marc Taylor can advise on suppliers. I'll ask him to contact you.

Last edited by conopid (2015-11-26 13:45:15)


Nigel Jones
Shropshire

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#3 2015-11-26 22:24:14

anymarks
DF Members
Name: Neil Marks
From: Norfolk
Registered: 2009-08-07
Posts: 93

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hi Andrew

I posted on a similar topic back in 2010  http://www.dipteristsforum.org.uk/t499- … orage.html

Like you I was attempting to get my jumbled containers in to some semblance of order. Originally it was an interim system to be followed by a more permanent solution.

However, in the past 5 years I have not really found any reason to replace it. I pop in a ball of Zensect moth repellent (readily available from Supermarkets) into each box  every now & again and have had not a single incident of pest attack. The container boxes stack nicely, don't take up much space and the individual trays are a doddle to organize - I have been more than happy with it !

From a financial aspect - did I want a bespoke cabinet or a new stereo microscope ?  It wasn't a difficult choice...!

Just my pennyworth hoping it may be of interest

Regards, Neil

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#4 2015-11-26 22:32:30

schultmay
DF Members
Name: Barbara Ismay
Registered: 2008-02-14
Posts: 126

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hi Andrew,

We usually use wooden boxes, but due to the amount of specimens, we also use all sorts of cardboard boxes. Often good quality sweets boxes, e.g. bitter mint boxes etc. We then glue the plastozote to the bottom. You have to be careful that they are absolutely clean, close well, can't be bent easily and then we put these into sealable plastic bags (zipseal is best).
We usually pin specimens into small cristal boxes first (with one label for a whole group of specimens) (from David and Diane Henshaw) and stage them when we have time. This ensures that the specimens are absolutely dry before we put them away for long-term storage. We leave the cristal boxes slightly open for 2 -3 days in a pest free room before closing it to ensure that the specimens are dry.
We don't like plastic boxes as they can build up static and specimens elsewhere have lost their wings in the past.
Hope this helps.

Best wishes,

John and Barbara

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#5 2015-11-26 23:17:42

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

conopid wrote:

Andrew,
Many people are now using good quality thick cardboard boxes (much preferable to plastic which retains any moisture too efficiently and can cause specimens to go mouldy). The card boxes are then placed inside large zipseal bags to keep pests out - the boxes inside tend to soak up any tiny amount of moisture so mould is less of a problem that in plastic boxes. It works well. Marc Taylor can advise on suppliers. I'll ask him to contact you.

Hello Nigel,

Thank you, moisture retention was another problem I meant to bring up as I have had a few specimens go mouldy. Your suggestion sounds pretty good and I look forward to hearing from Marc on suppliers.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#6 2015-11-26 23:28:40

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

anymarks wrote:

Hi Andrew

I posted on a similar topic back in 2010  http://www.dipteristsforum.org.uk/t499- … orage.html

Like you I was attempting to get my jumbled containers in to some semblance of order. Originally it was an interim system to be followed by a more permanent solution.

However, in the past 5 years I have not really found any reason to replace it. I pop in a ball of Zensect moth repellent (readily available from Supermarkets) into each box  every now & again and have had not a single incident of pest attack. The container boxes stack nicely, don't take up much space and the individual trays are a doddle to organize - I have been more than happy with it !

From a financial aspect - did I want a bespoke cabinet or a new stereo microscope ?  It wasn't a difficult choice...!

Just my pennyworth hoping it may be of interest

Regards, Neil

Hello Neil,

Thanks. It is heartening to know that simple cardboard will do the job as that is a very inexpensive route to take. I am capable of building my own stuff and may look into this route as cardboard is easily obtained from the local supermarket. Admittedly the quality will not be as neat so plywood, MDF or balsa wood may be considered.

I read through the thread you referred to and the boxes mentioned by Michael Pocock look very interesting so I shall Google the net for suppliers to assess their prices.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#7 2015-11-26 23:31:18

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

schultmay wrote:

Hi Andrew,

We usually use wooden boxes, but due to the amount of specimens, we also use all sorts of cardboard boxes. Often good quality sweets boxes, e.g. bitter mint boxes etc. We then glue the plastozote to the bottom. You have to be careful that they are absolutely clean, close well, can't be bent easily and then we put these into sealable plastic bags (zipseal is best).
We usually pin specimens into small cristal boxes first (with one label for a whole group of specimens) (from David and Diane Henshaw) and stage them when we have time. This ensures that the specimens are absolutely dry before we put them away for long-term storage. We leave the cristal boxes slightly open for 2 -3 days in a pest free room before closing it to ensure that the specimens are dry.
We don't like plastic boxes as they can build up static and specimens elsewhere have lost their wings in the past.
Hope this helps.

Best wishes,

John and Barbara

Hello John & Barbara,

Thanks. I just used up a perfectly strong cardboard box (Baylis & Harding) to entertain some young nieces so it sounds like I lost a good box! All three replies including yours are a resounding nudge toward the cardboard and zipper bag option.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#8 2015-11-26 23:46:23

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Early searches for cardboard boxes found this from a convenient supplier in the UK.........

http://www.nhbs.com/title/199552/storag … azote-base

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#9 2015-11-27 14:22:21

Steve Crellin
DF Members
Name: Steve Crellin
From: Isle of Man
Registered: 2008-03-10
Posts: 30

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hi Andrew,

Another alternative are these from Paradox :

http://www.insectnet.eu/details.php?id_prod=587

http://www.insectnet.eu/zdjecia/TBC002.jpg

Cardboard transport box (white) with plastazote foam. Internal dimensions 170 x 100 x 45 mm. Overall height 55 mm.

They are smaller than the NHBS ones but they are currently listed for 1.60 euros each. I've found Paradox easy to use (pay via Paypal) and 100% reliable so far. They do specify a minimum order of 40 euros.

Steve

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#10 2015-11-27 21:53:57

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hello Steve,

Thanks. Those look good and the price is very agreeable too. The size looks ideal for maintaining manageable quantities and ease of insertion into zipper bags.

I had a look around several shops in town today and came across some strong boxes in WHSmiths but they were in loud patterns. There are plainer ones online so I shall try looking in a larger store in Exeter tomorrow.

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/simpl … box/481557

They seem a bit high at 9cm but I can easily cut them down to an appropriate size. Small cardboard boxes mentioned above could be used to sub-divide said box.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#11 2015-11-28 16:21:54

conopid
DF Members
Name: Nigel Jones
From: Shrewsbury
Registered: 2008-02-27
Posts: 619
Website

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Andrew, at 90mm depth they are just right to put plastazote on the bottom and the lid and get two layers of specimens in. Ideal!


Nigel Jones
Shropshire

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#12 2015-11-28 22:48:15

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Good thinking Nigel. I had a look at one in WHSmiths in Exeter today and it is very satisfactory. There was a better version available at a higher price but I think I will stick with the simpler brown ones as I can get more for my money and they will do the job.

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/moder … x/37108793

I shall now Google for zip seal bags large enough to take the boxes!

Regards,
Andrew.

EDIT : Looks like I shall be getting something along the lines of these...........
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snopake-Plus-37 … 4+zip+seal

Last edited by Andrew Cunningham (2015-11-29 00:01:36)

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#13 2015-11-30 14:51:49

Marc Taylor
DF Members
Name: Marc Taylor
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 44

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Apologies for not engaging earlier, convalescing a mature mother and indulging in the worship of the four winged stinging taxa who's name shall  not pass my lips, but to answer Andrews questions:

Try these:

http://www.allboxes.co.uk/white-305x215 … -784-p.asp

They do several sizes. Does need a minimum order.

Plastazote

http://www.thamesvalleysupplies.co.uk/plastazote.php

They do a with adhesive option which is well worth it. Get 10mm or even 12mm thickness.

http://www.thamesvalleysupplies.co.uk/r … 1448875305

I've uploaded an image of my collection of these boxes and zip lock bags, to date no varmints found that were not invited. Regrettably Lakeland who make 45cm X 35 Cm zip lock bags have ceased to, so if any of you can let me know of any this size please do so, its matters not which edge opens. Whilst the minimum number of the boxes is high, so too the overall cost £4.50 ish each inc vat and delivered, we found passing the word around and splitting the numbers down helped. I also place a piece of the Rentokil Moth Killer paper about postcard size external to the box within the bag, this releases Transfluthrin, my way of creating an unfriendliness atmosphere for anything small enough to try to breach the ziplock. I am back home now so if you want to take this further let me know.


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Last edited by Marc Taylor (2015-11-30 14:57:52)

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#14 2015-11-30 16:44:20

conopid
DF Members
Name: Nigel Jones
From: Shrewsbury
Registered: 2008-02-27
Posts: 619
Website

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

The largest of these bags might do it?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ZIP-SEAL-BAGS … 1867598683


Nigel Jones
Shropshire

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#15 2015-11-30 17:32:00

PhilC
DF Members
Name: Phil Collins
From: Essex
Registered: 2013-10-25
Posts: 27

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ZIP-LOCK-ZIPP … BovGEf2-rQ

The "supersize" one is 485mm x 340mm.

Phil

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#16 2015-11-30 21:38:53

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hello Marc,

Many thanks for coming in on this thread.

Those boxes look very effective and the supplier provides a range of sizes which is very useful indeed. I think I shall certainly order some of these. If the quantities prove too large I shall ask other Devon dipterists if they want to have some.

The adhesive backed Plastazote is pricey but it sounds like this might be better than my double sided carpet tape solution which frequently fails as the foam peels away often.

As Nigel and Phil have suggested, eBay comes to our rescue for larger zip seal bags.

The Rentokil papers shall also be put on my shopping list. I will try Wilko for these first before trying online.

Once again, thanks Marc.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#17 2015-12-01 23:02:36

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 218

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Regarding the difficulty of fixing plastazote to a plastic lid. I would suggest trying a hot-melt glue gun. These seem to use melted polythene as the adhesive and I have found them effective for securing plastizote in plastic boxes (also used at NHM with their unit trays). These are reasonably cheap, and models such as the "Bostick Handy Glue Gun" are widely available from DIY or craft stores or the "Stanley Glue Gun" from Argos.

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#18 2015-12-02 00:07:16

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

KenMerrifield wrote:

Regarding the difficulty of fixing plastazote to a plastic lid. I would suggest trying a hot-melt glue gun. These seem to use melted polythene as the adhesive and I have found them effective for securing plastizote in plastic boxes (also used at NHM with their unit trays). These are reasonably cheap, and models such as the "Bostick Handy Glue Gun" are widely available from DIY or craft stores or the "Stanley Glue Gun" from Argos.

Thank you Ken.

That is uncanny as I ordered a Stanley glue gun this morning after taking a lump out of my finger a few days with hot melt glue rods that had been held over a candle!

I never considered this before as I suspected it would melt the foam. I shall give it a go.

Regards,
Andrew.

NB : The Stanley glue gun can be had off eBay for about £6.50 including postage which is a good deal.

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#19 2015-12-02 23:20:45

conopid
DF Members
Name: Nigel Jones
From: Shrewsbury
Registered: 2008-02-27
Posts: 619
Website

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

We need to make an article for the Dipterists Forum Newsletter out of this. It is extremely useful and I am sure many entomologists would find it helpful for keeping costs down. I just spent way too much money on a couple large wooden store boxes. Admittedly they are very nice, but I'd rather have paid less and made do with these excellent ideas.


Nigel Jones
Shropshire

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#20 2015-12-03 00:08:34

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

conopid wrote:

We need to make an article for the Dipterists Forum Newsletter out of this. It is extremely useful and I am sure many entomologists would find it helpful for keeping costs down. I just spent way too much money on a couple large wooden store boxes. Admittedly they are very nice, but I'd rather have paid less and made do with these excellent ideas.

That's an excellent idea Nigel and hopefully that prompts some more ideas to be put forward.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#21 2015-12-04 10:38:26

Rainieria
Committee
Name: Darwyn Sumner
Registered: 2008-02-20
Posts: 299

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Current thinking in the world of cabinet making is that the old fish glue is best as it allows a piece to be dismantled safely for repair many years down the line. I've repaired many a wooden insect drawer made with this stuff. Not for us though as it's an attractant for pests.
The standard glue for any kind of entomological container that is not plastic is woodworkers PVA glue (Titebond)


Darwyn Sumner
DF Bulletin Editor, Scheme Organiser: Stilt & Stalk Flies

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#22 2016-01-01 03:22:05

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 218

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

I managed to find the references to some alternative storage methods that I saw a while ago.
A recently published system for compact storage of smaller species (e.g. Heteroptera) is to store the specimens in the small plastic boxes usually used for setting as they are insect proof but not airtight so there is not a large inrush of air when they are opened. Using clear plastic boxes 124mm x 82mm 23mm deep lined with Plastazote; presumably the 'crystal boxes' often used for setting small specimens. These plastic boxes can be stored in shoe boxes. (I suspect many Dipterists unintentionally use this method when the next field season starts before all the previous years' backlog of specimens have been mounted)
Ryan, R. P. 2014 "A compact, practical system for storing insect specimens" Br. J. Ent. Nat. Hist. Vol 27 pp127-129

Use of larger airtight click lock boxes has been suggested as a defence against insect attack. A large 5.5 litre box can hold two layers of Plastazote mounted on plywood and held part using 40mm wood screws to give 'double decker' storage. The author uses these boxes to complement traditional cabinets. The large boxes used have space for silica gel or pesticides if required.
Porter, Keith 2014 "Secure and affordable storage of insect collections" Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists' Society Vol 73 pp114-117

I have used medium sized click lock boxes for single layer storage and have had no problems with mould growth (although it may be a problem in more humid parts of the country). The smaller sizes of these boxes are ideal for specimen transport, most being just high enough to clear an entomological pin and are more compact than the traditional wood and cork postal boxes. I find that good quality click lock boxes are robust, although some very cheap ones can be flimsy and I have doubts about the fit of their seals.
Having a conservationist attitude to money most of my collection is stored in biscuit tins or plastic ice cream containers which I have found generally satisfactory but wasteful of space due to excessive height. (Recent biscuit tins also seem more wasteful of space with corners removed or curved edges; am I cynical in thinking it is a design objective to make the reduction in contents less apparent?)


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#23 2016-01-02 21:01:29

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Thank you Ken. I came across the paper by Rob Ryan and shall see if I can find the other by Keith Porter.

I thought it worth mentioing that WHSmiths currently have a sale on their 'Document Boxes' at BOGOF which makes it two boxes for £3.50 each, a bargain I think. When I have modified one, I shall post a 'before and after' image.

Still waiting for a late delivery of large zip seal bags.

Regards,
Andrew.

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#24 2016-03-05 23:32:49

Andrew Cunningham
DF Members
Name: Andrew Cunningham
From: Devon, UK.
Registered: 2010-11-05
Posts: 881

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Hello,

I produced a presentation for today's Devon Fly Group indoor meeting on making my own boxes and have uploaded the PDF on to Google Drive. I think you may need to download the file if you do not have a Google PDF viewer app or such.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8tBp4 … sp=sharing

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this thread.

Regards,
Andrew.

Last edited by Andrew Cunningham (2016-03-05 23:51:07)

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#25 2016-03-06 09:05:48

Rainieria
Committee
Name: Darwyn Sumner
Registered: 2008-02-20
Posts: 299

Re: Alternative Specimen Storage Methods

Terrific presentation


Darwyn Sumner
DF Bulletin Editor, Scheme Organiser: Stilt & Stalk Flies

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