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1170 Views 3 Replies Last post: Nov 4, 2012 11:42 AM by DrMLG RSS
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Nov 1, 2012 6:54 PM

Coleoptera curation

Has anyone any tips or ideas about relaxing a long dead and dried beetle?


I have been bought a beautiful metallic green tropical scarab from a certified dealer at the AES Trade Fair in September. However, it is 10 years dead and well dried in a contracted position. I have tried all my old bag of tricks for relaxing it. The moisture chamber for two weeks had no effect whatsoever. Soaking in 5% Acetic acid solution slighty loosened the joints only. Steam and finally direct immersion in boiling water, has made the mouthparts and antennae soft enough to set but the legs, whilst the joints are certainly more supple, are still not able to be moved into a mounted position. I have heard about Barber's Fluid but cannot find a source of this in the UK that is definitely Benzene-free and I don't have a fume cupboard. The modern modified Barbers Fluid substitutes Acetone for the carcinogenic Benzene that was part of the original recipe. Historical papers also refer vaguely to direct application of an ammonia/detergent mixture to the siezed joints but I cannot find much in the way of detail about this, such as a recipe, a description of the technique or a supplier of the solution.


It is a beautiful specimen about 1 1/2" long and is crying out to be properly set and displayed. Can anyone help with some insider information?



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 2, 2012 5:26 PM (in response to DrMLG)
    Re: Coleoptera curation

    My experience is that all the miracle fluids are not as good as old fashioned boiling water. If boiling for x period of time softens the palps etc., boiling for a much longer period should eventually soften the legs too. Manipulating them will help, once they start you should be able to move them in their sockets by hand....

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