Collection Composition

As stated in our Collections Management Policy, the collections preserved at the Frost Museum include:

  • Specimens, especially insects and other terrestrial arthropods (mainly Araneae), including their traces (e.g., exuviae), plant parts that instantiate insect damage or modification (e.g. galls and leaf mines), insect nests, and other artifacts (e.g., pollen, parasites, DNA) related to their biology
  • Paper-based resources that relate to entomological collections, including books, maps, printed photographs, field notes, lab notes, and correspondence

How specimens are stored

The research collection comprises approximately 1,300,000 specimens of arthropods, representing more than 15,000 species. Specimens are pinned, stored in cellophane envelopes, slide-mounted, or preserved in ethanol, depending on the taxon and stage. The dry collection is stored in USNM-style unit trays and drawers.

Collection strengths

  • Odonata — George and Alice Beatty donated their private collection of damselflies & dragonflies (>65,000), which is one of the largest in North America.
  • Aphids — John Pepper donated a substantial aphid collection from all over North America (>32,000 slides mounts and 800 species).
  • Anoplura — The K.C. Kim Anoplura collection contains >15,000 slides and represents at least 300 species. Associated with this collection is a complete library of Anoplura taxonomic resources.
  • Hymenoptera — Bees are a well-represented and growing section of the collection, due in part to the activities of the Center for Pollinator Research. Parasitoid Hymenoptera are also growing, especially Cynipidae of North America.
  • Insects of the eastern United States, particularly Pennsylvania and Florida.
  • Light-trapped insects, a collecting method that Stuart Frost experimented with and helped popularize.
  • Arthropods from caves in Pennsylvania. Stuart Frost was an avid caver and an early advisor for the Nittany Grotto caving club.
  • Leaf-miners (several taxa, but especially Agromyzidae) are also well represented, having been a research focus of Frost since graduate school.

Digitization efforts

Frost staff have been digitizing collections since the early 2000s. Data are accessible through SCAN and GBIF.

Loans and related policies

Specimens can be loaned for scientific research. Please read our Loan Policy Statement for our loan conditions. Please contact Andy Deans, Director ( or Laura Porturas, Collection Manager ( to request a loan. Other policies are available in our list of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Donated Collections

Several large donations have been gifted to the Frost over the years. These contributions have facilitated greater arthropod research, outreach, and education at Penn State.

  • Beatty, G. H. & A. F. (Odonata)
  • Bierlein, D. L. (Lepidoptera)
  • Byers. R. A. (Pasture insects)
  • Carter, R. E. (Lepidoptera)
  • Frost, S. W. (Insecta)
  • Haas, V. L. (Insecta)
  • Hyland, K. E. (Insecta)
  • Kim, K. C. (Insecta; ectoparasites of vertebrates)
  • Long, W. W. (Lepidoptera)
  • Patterson, G. F. (Lepidoptera)
  • Pepper, J. O. (Aphids)
  • Paxton, W. (Orthoptera - Tetrigidae, 1999)
  • Shetlar, D. J. (Insecta)
  • Thomas, C. A. (Lepidoptera)
  • Werschkow, Vera. York, Pennsylvania (Insecta of George Werschkow, 1999)

Interested in donating a collection? Please contact Andy Deans, Director ( or Laura Porturas, Collection Manager (

The Frost Entomological Museum


160 Curtin Rd.
State College, PA 16802

Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm