1 - Insect Collecting Kit. Bioquip (bioquip.com) sells a couple of these, ranging from around $42 to $120. These collection kits have everything you need to collect and mount insects for amateurs to professionals. Both basically contain the same materials, one is just a better quality and "really fancy". They have the basics you need: pins, insect net, forceps, a spreading board, and a collection box.
2 -Display Case for Collections. Every entomologist loves to show off their collections and there are a number of options out there, in various sizes. Glass covered display cases can be mounted to the wall or placed on tables as art work - everyone loves to look at an insect collection! Craft stores sell shadow boxes with a fabric backing that insect pins fit into. You can find these are Hobby Lobby or Michaels. While these are great to hang on walls because they already have the hardware and are an inexpensive option, they are not air tight, so you'll need to remember to use moth balls or ??? to prevent dermestid beetles from ruining your collection. Bioquip, hobby stores and scientific stores may carry more airtight boxes.
|Shadow box with burlap backing.|
3 - A Professional Insect Net. Dinky nets can be found at the dollar store, but a real entomologist needs a good net! Hobby and science shops and Bioquip sell a range of nets. You can find various diameters for the nets and various lengths of the stick.My personal favorite is the dual net - they are strong enough to take a beating in some brush, but light enough to catch butterflies out of the air.
|Bioquip.com. Heavy Duty Aerial Net.|
4 - A Good Identification Field Guide. There are soooo many out there! My suggestion is to try to find one that is local to your region or state. At the very least, chose a field guide for insects found in North America.
|A Field Guide to Texas Insects by Drees an d Jackman|
5 - A LIVE TARANTULA! Every entomologist has some live arthropod they keep as a pet. You can find suppliers everywhere, even pet stores. I enjoy shopping from breeders. They generally know more about the specimen they are selling you and can help you choose the right species for you tastes: something you can handle easily versus something flashy and pretty. You can find breeders at reptile and exotic shows or online. My suggestion is to ask to hold the tarantula first - that way you know if you are comfortable with it before you take it home. You'll also know if its too fast or skitzy for you.