When you clean your freezer you may find yourself throwing away some three year old hamburger or a bit of crystallized ice cream. For me, cleaning out the freezer is an entirely different task. In truth, I have two freezers. One is quite large (large enough to fit a person) the other is the standard type which is atop my refrigerator. Cleaning the body-sized freezer is a daunting task I will get to another day. Today, cleaning out the small freezer was in order. Frankly, I need more room for ice cream and ice cubes as the weather is getting hotter in these parts.
Generally, critters are kept in the large freezer while insects cool their thoraxes and wings in the upstairs small freezer. Over the past year, I have managed to accumulate quite a few insects. They are stashed in a wide variety of plastic containers grabbed haphazardly from my recycling bin when the need arose. (There are quite a few Talenti gelato containers, clearly I have a problem). Today was the day to get out my pins and deal with the bug pinning backlog.
The problem looked something like this:
Cicadas, dragonflies, a butterfly, two cabbage moths, two spiders and a praying mantis (thanks Margo!)
As you can see, rifling through my freezer has its perils. You enter looking for popsicles and you leave with the heebie geebies.
Sometimes in a pinch, I throw a bug in with some of his/her already frozen brethren. I think they most likely freeze to death before they die of terror and shock.
Thankfully, a good taxidermist/bug collector is never without lots of styrofoam and pins.
When it appeared someone had lost his/her legs, I did a “leg count” and realized these fell off one of my spiders. I am not sure I know how to re-affix spider legs. I seem to recall that my bug pinning instructors at ANSP mentioned that spiders can defrost and reanimate up to 48 hours after entering the freezer. While I am sure this gives some comfort to Walt Disney’s family, I find the prospect of a reanimated spider rather disturbing.
Here is a bit of my handywork. . .
This poor grasshopper has lurked in the flowers in at least one of my photos. . .
I am fairly certain that when the 17 year cicadas return they will either 1. be out for my blood or 2. stay the heck away from me. I am not sure which. For now, this cicada appears to be staring in horror at the 5 1/2 legged spider.
Just in case you worried I might have given up on taxidermy, fear not. I give you this as yet unfinished mole in a tea cup. I am not sure whether to name her Tempest or Meret.