shipping hints

Chris Conlan conlan at
Wed Jun 18 01:17:27 EDT 1997

I would have to say that the most frequent and fatal mistake I see people
make when shipping eggs is to put them in a closed container with
hostplant.  Eggs seem to be very sensitive to CO2 levels and cut hostplant
in a stuffy little container will often release enough CO2 to kill the
eggs.  If the eggs are going to hatch in transit it is often better to use
express mail or wait and send the young larvae already feeding.
My preferred method is to use a small bubble mailer and I enclose the eggs
in a small microcentrifuge tube (also called eppi-tubes).  It is very
important to punch a small hole in the tube for ventilation or the eggs may
suffocate.  These tubes are very tough and can withstand some serious
abuse.  They are reusable and small enough that multiple species can be
tossed into the same small bubble mailer.  I prefer to LIGHTLY sandwich
(need to leave a little room in case they eclose) the eggs between layers
of tissue or cotton inside the tube.  This keeps them from being tossed
around too much.  I can't stress enough how much the bubble mailer helps.
The postal equipment these days is brutal and will often shred a standard
envelope with a small lump in it.  It's cheap insurance to use the padded
Larvae are a whole different ballgame.  Normally, they don't do well for
prolonged periods in the mail so some sort of fast mail is best.  I prefer
to use a closed container or vial and ship the larvae while they are still
small (first few instars). I enclose just enough leaves to last for the
trip, punch some small holes for air and put some tissue in the container
to soak up any excess condensation.  The larvae also need a good substrate
to cling to during the trip.  This can be the host or a twig that is
tightly in place in the container (it depends on number and size of the
larvae being shipped).  Pack the container so that it will not get crushed
during transit.  They should also be insulated if being shipped during very
hot or very cold weather.
In any case, a little extra effort on the shipping end goes a long way
toward success on the receiving end!


>Dear all,
>I search some good hints or advice for shipping livestock (ova, larva, or
>cocoons) by mail.
>I would like to write an article with your information.
>Thanks a lot
>Send to: pmarceau at

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