Store Bought Hand Sanitizer May Have An Application In The Field Of Entomology

August 10, 2017 | Posted In: Uncategorized

Store Bought Hand Sanitizer May Have An Application In The Field Of Entomology

Ever since the turn of the millennium, hand sanitizer replaced soap as the most convenient way of ridding our hands of bacteria. Who knows if hand sanitizer is as effective as soap when it comes to cleaning our mitts. We just know that hand sanitizer is faster than using soap, and we don’t have to tolerate the inconvenience of water dripping from our hands. This is why entomologists use hand sanitizer before picking up insects. Entomologists have to pick up many different insects, so giving their hands a quick sanitizing rub-down is ideal before handling each insect. However, entomologists may find that hand sanitizer is useful and convenient in ways that do not relate to decontamination.

According to an article in American Entomologist by Gerald S. Wagner, hand sanitizers preserve insect specimens just as effectively as alcohol. Wagner, used several popular brands of hand sanitizer, such as Dial, Purell, and Meijer in order to preserve insects. Apparently, Wagner, during an assumed fit  of boredom, dipped different bugs into these three different brands of hand sanitizer. He was happy to announce that all three brands were equally effective at preserving insect specimens.

Typically, alcohol is used to preserve insect specimens. However, many entomologists agree that replacing alcohol with the thicker substance in hand sanitizer would be a good idea. Of course, hand sanitizer contains a high amount of alcohol, as well.

Hand sanitizer is much cheaper than alcohol, it is less likely to leak while traveling through the mail, and far less entomologists will be caught drinking on the job. Well, everything but the “drinking” part is true anyway. Also, due to the thick gel contained in hand sanitizer bottles, soft bodied and fragile arthropods, such as termites, aphids, spiders and larvae will arrive at their destinations with far less damage to their bodies. It is surprising that nobody had thought of this solution before.

Do you believe that using thickening agents in alcohol was attempted in the past? Do you think that alcohol can cause damage to some insects, such as the fragile wings of a butterfly?