Degreasing Insects

From: Strathy
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 19:22:55 -0000


I've got a couple of Dynastes tityus in my collection that I caught last summer. The female has turned black on the side that I've put the pin through. Why? And how can I get the colour back? I've tried acitone which did not do anything. Is there a way of preventing this in the future? Why only the female? Here is a picture of it before it turned completely black. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,


From: "Vr. Richard Bejsak-Colloredo-Mansfeld" <>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 12:10:14 +1100

you can use benzine, maybe even ethyl acetate can help you.. Ricardo

From: "Craig Zammiello" <>
Friday, February 09, 2001 12:03 PM

Hi Strathy,

Your female D. tityus just has more fat content in it. This is leeching out to the surrounding cuticle because of the pin. Best solution is to remove the pin and soak the beetle in trichlorethlyne111. That is dry cleaning fluid available at hardware stores. WARNING. this stuff is toxic. use only with ventilation and do not get any on your skin. Keep the beetle soaking in a jar of the stuff for two or three days. Then put the beetle in a fresh jar for another day or two. This will usually clear up the grease stains by de-fating the beetle ( you will see the solution change color to yellow as it soaks a few days. When you finally remove the beetle, wear a rubber glove and shake the beetle up and down to get rid of excess Tri-chlor ( do this outside). When the beetle dries, it will be as good as new. This usually happens to Dynastids and Centonids, and during high humidity times. If, the tri-chlor does not do the job, repeat, with the same cautions, with Lacquer thinner.

Good luck,


Craig Z.

From: Dave Hawks <david.hawks@UCR.EDU>
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 17:18:47 -0800


It has "greased"! Dynastes are notorious for this, and both sexes have this potential problem. Often only the pinned side greases (or greases first), presumably because you've punctured fat-containing tissues and the fat has traveled up the pin and into the elytra. You can easily degrease this and other specimens in hexane (my first choice among various available solvents), and you'll have best results if you soak it in two baths (with pin is OK). First the "dirty" bath, which will become yellowish very quickly, then the "clean" bath, which will stay clear if you've removed virtually all grease in the dirty bath. For a big bug like Dynastes tityus, I'd leave it in the dirty bath for a few days and then 24 hours or so in the clean bath. It may look nice for a year or more and then grease again (these things have an amazing amount of grease sometimes!).

Good luck,

Dave Hawks

Department of Entomology
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 23:03:43 EST

Hi Strathy,

Just saw your posting about D. tityus turning dark. I had a similar thing happen once with Dynastes granti, but I got the right color back with acetone. Did you dunk the entire beetle in acetone and leave it in at least overnight? That's what I did. By the way, those are nice sized tityus. I caught several this past summer in TN, though not as big, along with mandibles only of several Lucanus elaphus. Where did you find your specimens?

Los Angeles, CA

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