Problems importing insect pins

Murray Fletcher murray.fletcher at AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU
Wed Oct 10 15:17:01 CDT 2001

It would be a bit difficult to pack holotype insect specimens in such a way
because removing them from the pin would itself place the specimen at risk. I
wonder whether the concern is not so much that the pins could be used as weapons
but that an X-ray of a box of pinned insects shows up as a collection of little
wires that might, to the untrained eye, look like some kind of device. Insects
might be a camouflage of some kind used by a fiendishly clever villain. You
would still need to have a high degree of paranoia to suspect such a packet of
being something dangerous but a high degree of paranoia is (understandably)
exactly what is gripping those responsible for airline safety.


Ken Kinman wrote:

> LOL,
>      It hard to see anyone being intimidated by a hijacker wielding a
> 1.5-inch insect pin.  It's so absurd, I would think the government regulator
> who dreamed up that one would become the butt of some appropriate jokes
> (What was he thinking?).
>      But since getting rid of such regulations (once they are "on the
> books") is rather difficult and slow, couldn't entomologists remove the pins
> and just pack the insect specimens in plastic wrap, perhaps surrounded by
> cotton balls or other soft material?   We biologists should know best how to
> "adapt" to such changing conditions.
>             --------Ken Kinman
> P.S.   I think I heard that ball-point pens were banned on some flights.
> Not that pencils and pens would personally make me nervous, but they seem
> far more a threat than insect pins.  If insect pins are "dangerous" then
> what next?---ban all books and paper, since a paper cut could get infected?
>   I'd much rather have an entomologist with pinned insects next to me, than
> someone coughing and sneezing unhealthy germs into my air supply in such a
> confined space.  If he threatens me with an insect pin, I think I can handle
> that without too much trouble.  I could even counter-threaten to bite off
> his ear or beat him with my shoe.
>           ---K.E.K.    :-)
> ********************************************
> >From: James Kruse <fnjjk1 at UAF.EDU>
> >Reply-To: James Kruse <fnjjk1 at UAF.EDU>
> >Subject: Re: Problems importing specimens
> >Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 11:27:35 -0800
> >
> >on 10/9/01 10:20 AM, Sally Shelton at Shelton.Sally at NMNH.SI.EDU wrote:
> >
> > >>>> David Furth 10/09/01 12:14 PM >>>
> >
> > > I have had definite confirmations from at least two persons that
> >tried/planned
> > > to hand-carry pinned insect specimens into the USA and were forbidden to
> >do
> > > so.  One was on British Airways and the other from Costa Rica via
> >American
> > > Airlines.
> > >
> > > We would appreciate some way of finding out if there is some policy
> >against
> > > bringing pinned insect specimens into the USA on board because the 1.5
> >inch
> > > very thin insect pins are considered as "dangerous weapons".  This is a
> > > serious concern for entomologists who routinely hand-carry important,
> >valuable
> > > specimens in order to protect them from the postal systems.
> >
> >As if specimen imports need to be made _more_ difficult. Was that really
> >the
> >reason behind forbidding those imports?
> >
> >I thought I heard it all with the banning of plastic knives and fingernail
> >clippers. This 'zero tolerance' idiocy _can_ be taken to higher highs...
> >
> >Of course you could much more easily kill with a pencil or a pen. I suppose
> >those should be banned too.
> >
> >James J. Kruse, Ph.D.
> >Curator of Entomology
> >University of Alaska Museum
> >907 Yukon Drive
> >Fairbanks, AK, USA 99775-6960
> >tel 907.474.5579
> >fax 907.474.1987
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

Dr Murray J. Fletcher
Senior Research Scientist
Agricultural Scientific Collections Unit
Orange Agricultural Institute
Orange NSW 2800

Phone: +61-2-63913943
Fax: +61-2-63913899
Email: murray.fletcher at

ASCU Website:

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