Insect Tranquilizing Chamber With Baking Soda




Sometimes experimenting with insects can be tricky because many of them possess wings or they move really fast. To solve this problem you can use this tranquilizing chamber to calm them down without killing them.

Step 1: What You Will Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar (or any acid)
  • Styrofoam
  • A cup (or a container of your choice)

Make sure you choose a container that does not let any air out

Step 2: How It Works

Insects are sturdy creatures. Most of them can survive without oxygen for a surprisingly long time, and this is how this chamber works! The chamber displaces all of the oxygen, which puts insects in a sleep-like state(do not leave them there for too long or they will never wake up!), and it does so with the following reaction:

Na2CO3(Baking Soda) + 2HC2H3O2(vinegar) -> 2NaC2H3O2 + H2O + CO2 One of the products is carbon dioxide in gaseous form, if you produce enough of it to fill the chamber, there will be no oxygen left. You can actually calculate how much vinegar and baking soda you will need if you have a scale and you know the volume of the container, but adding a lot of vinegar and baking soda works too.

Step 3: Outline the Shape of the Cup on Styrofoam

This will be our cork that lets air in

Step 4: Cut!

Be careful!

Step 5: Take Out the Cutout

Step 6: Add Baking Soda to the Bottom of the Cup

Step 7: Add Vinegar

Step 8: Place the Cutout in the Cup

Make sure there are holes and spaces for gas to reach the top of cup from the bottom of the cup

Step 9: Add Insects

Step 10: Cover It Up

Preferably for a few minutes, but not for too long or they will die!

Step 11: Sleep

If you do not add enough baking soda and vinegar to replace air in the cup with CO2, it is not going to work. It took me a few times to find the right amount to make Pipa fall asleep. In the image above, she tried to fly away, but tranquilized, she got stuck in that awkward position with the wing half-opened(she is fine now). If you want calculations for how much vinegar and baking soda you need, I can add this here too.



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    6 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Very nice and cool! Creative usage! Definitely deserves a win!


    1 year ago

    Okay, I understand the technique, but why? What are you going to do to them when they are "asleep"?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Good question! This "sleep" can be very helpful when doing experiments on insects. For example, lets say you have 100+ insects, and you want to separate males from females. If they are flies or some other rapid moving insect, it can be very difficult because they will move around all over the place. However, if you put them to "sleep", you can easily pick them out.


    1 year ago

    OMG this is amazing. I never even heard of doing this,, but wow. I will try this. And everyone clapped (can confirm was baking soda)