Resources for insect collecting and observing

aquatic insect sampling

Insect collecting supplies

While many of the materials needed for insect collecting and making a collection can be homemade, some must be obtained from a supply house. The following are some of the leading biological supply houses in the United States:

  • BioQuip Products, 17803 LaSalle Avenue, Gardena, CA 90248-3602. Phone: (310) 324-0620.  Bioquip is one of the most popular suppliers of entomological supplies and has probably the greatest selection of entomologically related equipment available.
  • Carolina Biological Supply Co., Burlington, NC 27215. (800)-334-5551.  A popular cataloger among educators, Carolina has a good selection of collecting equipment, classroom displays and live insect kits. This is one of the better supply houses for setting up insect cultures for science fair projects.
  • Gempler’s, P.O. Box 270, Belleville, WI 53508. (800) 382-8473  Outdoor equipment supplier, with some entomological supplies, including a variety of pest management-related equipment.  Good source for sticky traps, pheromone traps and heavy duty sweep nets.
  • Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, Inc., P.O. Box 1712, Rochester, NY 14603. (800)-962-2660.  One of the oldest natural history supply houses, Ward’s caters to educators with lab equipment, classroom displays, collecting and storage equipment, and even insects embedded in plastic.


A good microscope is essential for serious insect identification.  Many styles and brands can be found in the catalogs of suppliers listed above, and elsewhere online.  Look for quality optics, and magnification from 6X to 25X or more.  Beginner-level scopes are adequate for most students and pest control companies; however should you have a desire to work with very small specimens (5 mm or less), or find yourself unsatisfied with the resolution of your beginner scope, you may need to spend more money.  Fortunately, there are a number of companies today that sell used optical equipment and you may be able to pick up a bargain in this way.

Binoculars for butterfly watching

Nearly any pair of binoculars capable of focusing to 5 feet or less can be used for butterfly and dragonfly watching.  One model, the Papilio by Pentax has received good reviews with one of the shorted focal lengths (15 inches) on the market.


For an annotated list of some of my favorite insect titles, see the factsheet Books for insect lovers.

Entomology Groups

  • Entomological Society of America. 9301 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD 20706-3115. Phone: 301-731-4535. Largest association of professional entomologists in United States, this group has recently added a youth membership category and can provide information about entomology as a career.
  • Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute. Longtime group committed to fostering an awareness, knowledge and appreciation of all nature through the study and interpretation of the vital roles arthropods play in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Publishes a magazine and a newsletter, and has family memberships.

fostering an awareness, knowledge and appreciation of all nature through the study and interpretation of the vital roles arthropods play in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem

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