Displaying 4-H Insect Collections
Making an insect collection is an excellent way to learn about insects, and insect collections are one of the main components of the 4-H Entomology Project. Well-prepared insect collections are eye-catching and attract the attention and interest of most people who see them in an exhibition. When most people seen an insect collection they just have to come closer and check it out!
4-Hers may exhibit their insect collections at local County Fairs and 4-H Exhibit Days, as well as at the State Fair. Many collectors also exhibit their collections locally at places such as libraries, Co-Ops, or feed and seed stores. The main venues for exhibiting 4-H insect collections for competition is at 4-H Club Congress, for Senior 4-Hers, and at District 4-H Project Achievement Days, for Junior 4-Hers.
General guidelines and requirements for 4-H Insect Collections are discussed below. See Extension Publication #317, 4-H Introduction to Entomology for additional infrmation about making insect collections. For information on how to make a display box, see Information Sheet #653, Standard 4-H Display Box.
Some of the more important criteria used in judging insect collections are:
-- number of different orders represented
-- total number of specimens in collection
-- accuracy of identification, to order, and common name (if known), or family
(identification to genus and species is not required, or encouraged)
-- uniformity of mounting and labeling
-- neatness and arrangement
-- condition of specimens
-- correct size display box (19 inches x 16.5 inches x 3 inches)
Specialized Collections: Specialized collections are usually made by senior 4-Hers who have already completed an outstanding general insect collection and reached the point where they want to specialize. Examples of specialized collections include collections that only contain only butterflies, or only beetles, or only members of one family of beetles. Specialized collections can also focus on some other area of commonality. For example, one could make a collection of insects that bore in wood, insect pollinators, non-native insect that now occur in the state, or insect pests of vegetable gardens. Some collectors even choose to specialize in collecting non-insect arthropods such as ticks or spiders or arachnids as a group. Specialized collections may be entered in 4-H Insect Collection contests, but in most cases collectors who have advanced to this level are doing so for their own interest rather than for competition.