Problems importing insect pins

Bernard Landry bernard.landry at MHN.VILLE-GE.CH
Wed Oct 10 09:35:13 CDT 2001

Hello all,

I would certainly agree that removing pins from specimens is not a
good idea. And that we don't need more regulations than we already
have on carrying pinned specimens.

I hand-carried back to Switzerland a small box with 10 pinned
specimens on a September 26 flight from Montréal to Paris without any
problems. So perhaps the problem is restricted to the US, and perhaps
even to some particular customs officers.



At 15:17 +1000 10.10.2001, Murray Fletcher wrote:
>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?
>  > >

Muséum d'histoire naturelle, C.P. 6434, CH-1211 Genève 6, Suisse

Tél. : 41 (0)22 418 63 42
Fax : 41 (0)22 418 63 01
Courriel : bernard.landry at

For parcels : Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Route de Malagnou 1,
CH-1208 Genève, Switzerland

More information about the Taxacom mailing list