How To Preserve A Caterpillar?

Preserving insects are a traditional method that people are doing for their art museum or experiment.


Even colleges preserved insects for their educational experiment. Insects such as bees, wasps, butterflies, caterpillars, etc can be preserved and pinned in a shadow box or an envelope. 

An experienced hand is much needed while preserving insects otherwise inexperienced people can ruin the insect. But people who don’t know how to preserve a caterpillar can read our article for insight into the preserving method.

You can learn different types of methods for soft-bodied insects and hard-bodied insects. Caterpillars are soft-bodied insects that’s why they need a lot more gentle hands to perform the preserving method. 

The Process Of Preserving A Caterpillar

The process of preserving a caterpillar is as simple as preserving other insects. The difference is that the caterpillar has a soft body, which means you have to be gentle with the caterpillar while preserving it.

Things you need to preserve caterpillar

The most important thing you need to keep in mind while preserving the caterpillar is that you require every tool near your hand. The tools are

  • Insect killing agent
  • An airtight container
  • Insect pins
  • Spread board or butterflyboad 
  • Gloves
  • Envelope or shadow box


You have to get a caterpillar to preserve it. Make sure to wear gloves whenever you’re attempting to preserve a caterpillar. Catch the caterpillar gently because it has a soft body and your hard press can ruin the caterpillar. 


Various methods have been trying to preserve caterpillars and every method needs different tools. The only common ingredient is alcohol where we need to submerge the caterpillar. 

Method one: the first method is to submerge the caterpillar immediately into a container full of alcohol after catching it. That means you have to carry an airtight container that is filled with alcohol and drench the caterpillar in the alcohol.

You can use rubbing alcohol which is 70%.  You don’t have to use any stronger alcohol to preserve caterpillars because they have soft bodies. 

Then you can keep the caterpillar in the container and keep it as a showcase. 

Method two: another method of preserving caterpillars is to preserve them by boiling them. You take the caterpillar and immediately boil the caterpillar so that you can fix the protein of its body. 

By doing the boiling process, your caterpillar will not turn black and it will be well preserved. After boiling the caterpillars place them in the jar of alcohol so that the caterpillars are preserved.

Those larvae should be placed in boiling water for 1 to 5 minutes. After that, you need 70% to 80% alcohol to dip the caterpillar. 

These two methods are the most widespread procedures for preserving caterpillars. You have to be careful while boiling the caterpillar because if you boil too much then the caterpillar will be destroyed and soggy.

Make sure to boil the caterpillar only for 1-5 minutes according to its size. 

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After preserving the caterpillar in the alcohol you can keep the caterpillar in the container with alcohol as a liquid preservative.


You can pin the caterpillar and showcase it with a shadow box or in an envelope. 

But soft-bodied insects should not be pinned on the breadboard but some people pin them. If you’re a student and not a beginner then we recommend you keep the caterpillar in the glass container with liquid preservation.

Because if you’re not experienced then make sure to preserve the caterpillar with adult supervision.

How to take care of a caterpillar!


Caterpillars are gentle, and that’s why being gentle while preserving them is a must.


You are going to work with alcohol so make sure to wear gloves if you’re preserving any insects. 

Carefully pin the insects and make sure to use insect pins instead of ordinary pins. Ordinary pins can get rusty after some time and can destroy your preserved insect.

Keep in mind that every tool you’re using has to be sanitized so that the bacteria can not attack your caterpillar.  Caterpillar has a soft body and it can be destroyed easily by bacteria. 

Do not overboil the insect in the water otherwise, you might ruin the protein of the insect. Make sure the insect is soft-bodied then you should keep it in liquid preservation to preserve it. 


How do you preserve Fuzzy caterpillars?

Dried caterpillars are usually fuzzy and you can preserve them in the freezer or with silica gel. 

Can I preserve a bug in alcohol?

If the bug you’re going to preserve is soft-bodied then you have to keep them in 70-80% alcohol which is isopropyl or ethanol alcohol. Usually, bugs that have soft bodies should be placed in a liquid preservative. You have to keep the insect in a glass jar filled with alcohol.

The alcohol has to be 70%-80% isopropyl alcohol. Or you can use rubbing alcohol and put it in an airtight jar. Make sure to keep the caterpillar in an airtight jar or container to preserve it properly. 

What liquid do you use to preserve animals?

The most common fixative that preserves animals is formaldehyde. Sometimes they use formaldehyde and water solution to make formalin and preserve animals and insects.

And some people use isopropyl alcohol to preserve animals and insects. 

What is dry preservation?

Dry preservation is a method where they remove enough moisture from the food and preserve them. They dehydrate the food and remove all the moisture from it so that bacteria could not attack the food and preserve them. Dried fish and dried fruit are also the results of dry preservation. 


Whether it’s your hobby or you have a project for college, preserving insects is the toughest yet most enjoyable stuff. You can enjoy preserving insects with your children or your siblings. 

But if you’re not an adult then make sure to perform insect-preserving methods under adult supervision. Make sure to read all the cautions and take precautions before you perform any insect-preserving method.

Make sure to enjoy every moment while preserving insects. 

Peter Robert

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