Insects in the ISU Library Preservation Department's collection

It may seem a bit strange to keep jars of dead insects among our lab’s reference materials, but having real specimens on hand as identification and teaching aids provides an invaluable supplement to handbooks, websites, and photographs of environmental pests.  We’ve got carpet beetles, cockroaches, and even a praying mantis.

Our honors seminar students supplemented our collection by bringing in insects which they had captured and identified (a class assignment borrowed from Karen Pavelka at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information).  The students reported on the habits and life cycles of their insects, with particular emphasis on whether or not the insects represented a threat to collection materials.

Among the new additions to our “files” are field crickets, a cockroach, a silverfish, and a picnic beetle.