Preference for certain insect pins is highly individual! We provide pins from various companies, allowing you to find your favourite - it is our goal to have the largest selection of insect pins for you to choose from!
The best pin depends on climate and environment, and the desired longevity of the specimen.
Also, the ease with which the pin penetrates your specimen can be very important. Your specimens (and your fingers!) will choose for you!
If you don’t have a preference, keep in mind that these pins are all high quality and we are sure any of them will give you a very satisfying product for storage or display.
Pins come in packages of 100 pins, unless specified otherwise.
What follows below is a brief bit of background for the various categories and divisions of pins.
Insect pins have different coloured heads, with the heads being made of nylon (plastic). Choice of a particular colour of pin can be based on individual preference, but also on the specimen being pinned, and the manner of displaying the specimen.
a) Gold-Headed Pins
Gold-headed pins are the most common type of pins. The heads are visible but not "in your face" visible. These are excellent pins for a wide variety of specimens.
b) Black-Headed Pins
Some people prefer the appearance of pins which have black heads. Especially for specimens that are primarily dark/black as the pins are less obvious than the gold-headed pins under these conditions.
Black-headed pins are unique to Austerlitz.
Preparation pins have various head colours, and the heads can be either plastic or glass. Not used for storage or display, these pins are intended for the manipulation of and positioning of the the specimen while it is drying.
Preparation pins look a lot like tailor's (dressmaker's) pins. However, they tend to slide in wood much more easily than tailor's pins. Which means they probably slide better in fabric, too.
Insect pins come in two materials: black enameled steel or stainless steel. Black enamel is the most commonly-used finish, and provides good anti-corrosive properties under ordinary conditions.
What’s ordinary? If you need to ask, you might want to consider a stainless steel pin!
Stainless steel is better for humid environments; this is a higher quality pin (which also means these are more expensive pins – no surprise!). Interestingly, stainless steel pins are sometimes called “white pins” to differentiate from black enamel pins. Not actually white. Go figure.
Please note that pins in sizes 000 to 6 are all the same length (allowing for slight manufacturing variation).
Size 000, length 39mm, diameter 0.25mm
Size 00, length 39mm, diameter 0.30mm
Size 0, length 39mm, diameter 0.35mm
Size 1, length 39mm, diameter 0.40mm
Size 2, length 39mm, diameter 0.45mm
Size 3, length 39mm, diameter 0.50mm
Size 4, length 39mm, diameter 0.55mm
Size 5, length 39mm, diameter 0.60mm
Size 6, length 39mm, diameter 0.65mm
Size 6A, length 45mm, diameter 0.65mm (unique to Ento Sphinx)
Size 7S, length 45mm, diameter 0.70mm (unique to Paradox)
Size 7, length 52mm, diameter 0.70mm
For those who are relatively new to insect collecting/displaying, we would recommend trying pins in the size 0 to size 3 range.
A note about size 6A and 7S pins: Ento Sphinx carries a size 6A pin, which is the same diameter as a regular size 6 but longer than the usual 6. This size is unique to Ento Sphinx. Paradox makes a size 7S pin, only available in stainless steel, that is the same diameter as a regular size 7, but is shorter than the usual size 7. This size is unique to Paradox.
These pins are sometimes referred to as "railway spikes" because of their rather impressive size. They can be slightly more expensive than the little guys, depending on the supplier.
This is the "Big Bertha" of insect pins.
(Big Bertha was a howitzer made famous in World War I. With a 42 cm barrel, it is still listed as one of the largest artillery pieces ever fielded.)
A word of caution: some display and storage cases may not accommodate the extra length of "Big Bertha". Most notably, size 7 pins are too long to fit California Academy drawers. If you need a larger diameter pin, but are concerned about the length, we recommend trying the size 6A or the 7S.
Insect pins are manufactured in a number of countries; the best known and most common suppliers are located in the Czech Republic. However, Paradox is located in Poland.
We carry the following Czech pin brands:
As the name implies, these are TINY pins. Really really tiny pins.
Only 12mm in length and 0.25mm, 0.20mm, 0.15mm and 0.10mm in diameter. Some suppliers refer to these as sizes 25, 20, 15 and 10 respectively. For clarity, we will also use those sizes.
As a point of reference, size 000 insect pins are the same diameter as size 25 minutens.
Minutens come in packages of ca. 500 pins. This is a package that one never wants to drop or spill.
Note that size 25 minutens are unique to EntoSphinx, while Kostal produces only sizes 15 and 20.
Most minutens are stainless steel.
However, Entochrysis and Austerlitz do produce black enamel minutens, but these are only available in size 15. Aesthetically there may be a reason to favour a black pin, but with minutens, there is no cost-advantage to choosing black enamel.
Minutens do not have a head. Even the blunt end can go through foam.
For display purposes, one end of the minuten is inserted in the insect, and the other end is inserted in a small piece of foam (plastazote). A regular insect pin, with a label, is inserted in the other end of the piece of foam.
Glue boards and minutens are both used to deal with arthropods that are too tiny to pin in the usual way. Due to their “fluffy” surface, micro-moths are usually pinned with minutens, not glued onto glue boards as “fluff” interferes with the ability to glue the sample properly. Beetles, on the other hand, are typically displayed on glue boards. Flies and wasps can be treated either way. This is partially a matter of preference and partially a consideration of the exact specimen being displayed.