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Cleaning bugs
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:43 pm    Post subject: Cleaning bugs Reply with quote

Recently I bought a small Ultra-Sonic water bath with the idea of using it to clean the dirt off insects. First try was with a tiny delicate spider, it cleaned off all the dirt but also removed most of the legs and took the tips off of the hairs.
Second try was with a blowfly from the freezer, a typical rather dirty greenbottle fly.
A 3-minute session followed by rinsing with distilled water and then a quick wash in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
The treatment removed almost all the dirt but left the fine hairs and the antennae matted.
The small and large body bristles were unaffected.
I suspect this technique will leave beetles and other hair-less bugs in pristine condition.


NU13-01-04-1
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

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MacroB



Joined: 15 Nov 2010
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:25 am    Post subject: Cleaning Bugs Reply with quote

Hello NU,

Yes, I can see the fine hairs of the antennae are a little matted but for the rest it can easily be cleaned up with a bit of retouching.

I would be more inclined to look at those complex eyes, which seem to have some degeneration. Recently I took a calyptrate specimen that had been in the freezer for several months and the eyes had really become dehydrated. After soaking in warm soapy water for 1and1/2 hours it improved. Next day I repeated this and all sign of dehydration had disappeared. Try it!

Best wishes,
Bob
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bob:
I normally photograph insects soon after death so that I do not have any problems with dehydration. I know that soaking in warm soapy water will re-hydrate eyes.

Keith Short wrote a nice article on this subject, scroll down to page 10:

HERE
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

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klevin



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 34
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ultrasonic cleaning relies on high power high frequency sound that induces micro cavitation at the interface between the cleaning solution and anything solid. the collapse of the tiny cavitation bubbles generates pretty high forces.

I'm surprised any delicate structures survived this.
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the model I purchased
HERE

perhaps it is "weak", supposedly 42,000 waves/second.
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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klevin



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 34
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your cleaner is your standard low power home/small biz unit. These things are for cleaning fine dirt and debris from hard objects. The big advantage of ultrasonic cleaners is that the cleaning action gets into all sorts of tiny crevasses with no work on the part of the user.

They are probably not the best way for anything with delicate surfaces.

Cleaning these days is as much a science as an art. Approaches are very influenced by the material to be cleaned and by the dirt to be removed. Just take a look at an art conservation lab to get an idea. For example, in Wash, DC, the Smithsonian's Reynolds Center (where the National Portrait Gallery is) has its conservation labs as an exhibit with some panels discussing the approaches. One of the Harvard museums also has displays on conservation. Very interesting and informative.
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Fredlab



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
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Location: Burgundy

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

May i suggest
clic




Embarassed
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps there's scope for experimentation with weak structures - depending on your supply of spiders...
Maybe something introduced into the bath would absorb some of the energy. A knot of elastic bands?
Maybe something to affect the surface tension would alter the cavitating action? Lower energy smaller collapses?
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 635
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a topic of great interest to me. I have been photographing flies collected from the window sills at a local conservatory (green house). They don't allow me to collect live flies, so I only get the ones that expire in the windows. I fully support this policy as it is such a pleasure to observe the live flies. It is a real treat in northern Illinois to observe flies doing their "fly thing" in December and January.

Many of the window sill flies are quite well preserved. The cold windows are covered with condensation and the dead flies are usually drowning victims. And then there are the spiders that lurk near the windows. They get many easy meals. So the flies I have collected have made good subjects for stacking except they are quite dirty. I have performed a variety of "washes" and none have done a good job. I am seriously considering purchasing an ultra sonic cleaner.

I have followed the links to the cleaner purchased by NikonUser and read about the device. It appears to me that the principal issue is the power of the ultra sonic transducer. It has a timer, but does not appear to control the amplitude.

Several years ago when my children were infants (OK, many years ago...) we had an ultrasonic humidifier. At some point it started acting up, and being an engineer, I investigated. There were few "safeties" and the tank and vapor ducts could be removed. The ultrasonic transducer operated with them removed. It was quite interesting to observe. The "intensity" knob could be cranked up and down and as it was adjusted upward a small geyser of fog would erupt from the pool above the transducer. (Yes, it does hurt to stick your finger into it...) The bottom line is that the intensity was adjustable. So... If the intensity of the transducer for an ultrasonic humidifier can be adjusted, I am sure conceptually the same can be done with an ultrasonic cleaner. That should allow damage to various appendages to be avoided.

I am more concerned about the "hair clumping" shown in NikonUser's images. I have had similar problems with the flies and wasps that I have washed. Most insects are fastidious groomers and after they get wet they spend a long time brushing and combing things as they dry. I don't know how we aspiring entomological taxidermists with large clumsy fingers and picks will be as able as the bugs equipped with all sorts of tiny combs and brushes. Million years of evolution is on their side.

But we can try!

Keith Short
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a very little knowledge of a circuit driving an ultrasonic transducer. In that case the power level was important. Below a certain power level the "system" (bowl of liquid in this case) wouldn't resonate enough for the feedback driven circuit to work. At the critical level, off it went. Sounds like Keith's "geyser of fog" , suddenly appearing.
Above that level the amplitude was controllable.
Hence the thought of absorbing the power available to the spider by loading the system, rather than getting in there trying things like reducing voltages.

Of course surfactants & detergents are used to reduce surface tension to alter the cleaning. I am reminded of being student with no shampoo, when I used washing-up liquid. Even with a tiny quantity, it was very difficult to wash it out. "Baby" shampoos don't even string your eyes, and wash straight out. Hmmm, differences.

We are told U-S cleaning works because the collapsing voids following cavitation in the liquid, impart high energy very locally. Presumably "local" means spider joint dimensions?
We know that undesirable cavitation in pumps and the like depends on the temperature and pressure of the water. It readily occurs above about 63C. The voids are filled (we are told) with liquid vapour - so the process is akin to boiling the water at that point.
This leads me to suggest that if you use a lower boiling-point liquid in the bath, the energy required to boil it is less, so there wouldn't be as much energy stored in the cavitation voids. I may be wrong but perhaps it would be worth trying a few low-boiling-point liquids.

I remember Carbon Tetrachloride being used at one time. (Now banned, Chloroform might be similar.) An interesting material, BP 75 or so, quite dense, very low polarity, not miscible with water but very with oils.

I have no idea what really causes the clumping. Is there some sort of "glue" (residues, or something dissolved from the fly?) that's holding the hairs together? If not, why don't they spring back - or do they have to be "combed"?
Perhaps all it would need is a vibrating air flow during drying to give them a chance.

Hmmm...

.


Last edited by ChrisR on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johan



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The clumping, isn't that caused by body fats dissolving onto the hairs? This is conventionally tackled by 'degreasing', popping the specimen in acetone, gasoline, toluene or xylene for 30 mins - 24 hrs (depending on body weight).
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
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Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The spider was really tiny and soft/delicate with very long legs. I was being somewhat economical with the truth. The 'spider' was actually an Opiliones (Daddy Longlegs, Harvestman); it looked like a spider Embarassed
I believe the major problem is the matting of the very fine hairs hairs.
I cleaned a 7-year old pinned worker Baldfaced Hornet (true ID Laughing ) and 'brushed up' the wasp with a brush and air blower after treatment.
I held the specimen by the pin below the wasp and just immersed her to above her wings. Treatment cleaned the pin and the wasp effectively; did a job on the already damaged wings though.


NU13-01-06-1
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7181
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking - need to make its "hair stand on end"....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCLu4t12LdE
(I don't think it has to be a rabbit)
The rods might drag enough particles off without the bath.
I remeber AndrewC...
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about those brushes with a radioactive strip (?) that we used to remove dust from negatives in the darkroom.

Actually I'm getting to like my sonic water bath. Found a Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil (6.8 mm length) in the freezer and placed in the bath.
Came out clean with no damage, just a few spots of dirt but noticeable only at high magnification.


NU13-01-07-1
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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View user's profile Send private message
ChrisR
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7181
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
brushes with a radioactive strip
I never met those. A Calotherm anti-static cloth was my friend - tempted to wipe a sensor with it Smile.

As I understand it the radiated ions would discharge something with "static" on to allow the dust to fall off, whereas a charged plastic rod would be definitely attractive. Bits stick to them because of the bits' ability to be polarised. (Differentially charged one end from the other.)
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