Insect Collecting and Information for Kids
Insect collecting is a great way to identify different bugs, show them off and learn about them. Some scientists believe that bug collecting dates all the way back to prehistoric times. Humans have always been fascinated and amazed by critters and scientists are always discovering new types of bugs. There are more than 900,000 classifications, or types, of insects; so, there are always plenty to add to your collection.
Insect collecting does not take much to get started. You can even begin by using household items, or with a few purchased items. You will need nets to collect bugs and you will need to know where to find them. Catching bugs is often just as fun as pinning and displaying them! You will need a jar to keep the bugs in. Kids can easily display insects with inexpensive items, such as old lunch boxes or Tupperware containers. Before getting started, read about different insects and decide which ones can be found in your area. Once you know which insects to collect, you can begin finding them.
- Insect Collecting for Kids
- Insects Don’t Bug Us (PDF)
- 4-H Entomology Project
- Entomology Society of America
- Bug Hunter
Knowing where to find insects is the most important step in bug collecting. Once you know the types of insects in your area, you can begin collecting. Look in areas, such as rotten wood, decaying leaves, debris, and flowers. Be sure to use a flashlight when looking for insects at night and bring a parent with you. Sometimes you just need to dig in the ground to find different insects. Use a water net if looking for insects in ponds, streams, or lakes. You can pour water on sand or shorelines and catch insects as they try to leave.
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- How to Find Insects (PDF)
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- Introduction to Bug Collecting
After you find insects, you will need to know how to collect them. There are different ways to collect insects after you find them and you will need some equipment to get the job done. You may use nets and other techniques to find and collect insects. Some methods work best during the day while others are useful for night. Nets and jars are tools used most often to collect insects both on land, in the air, and under water.
- Collecting and Preserving Insects
- Tips for Finding, Collecting, Preserving and Displaying Insects
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Tools and Equipment
Some kids begin insect collecting by scooping bugs with their hands and then putting them in jars. This is a great way to start but you will soon want to use other tools and equipment. Nets, jars, envelopes, aspirators, sifter pans, shovels, pans, and traps can be used to collect different types of insects. The tools and equipment that you use will depend upon where you are searching for insects.
- Collecting and Preserving Insects: Tools and Equipment
- Bugs in the Classroom
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- Bug Collection Project
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Displaying your insect collection is just as exciting as collecting the bugs. You must make sure that the bugs are dead and preserved in a manner that allows you to pin and display them. Not all insects should be pinned. Follow the instructions for each insect and pin it correctly. If you do not pin insects in the right way, they may become damaged or will not last in your display.
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- Displaying your Insect Collection
- How to Pin Insects and More Instructions (PDF)
- Discovering the Insect World (PDF)
- How to Pin and Label Adult Insects
- Making an Insect Collection (PDF)
Kids beginning to collect insects often pick a variety of bugs to start their new hobby. Butterflies and moths are a fun way to start collecting and make a beautiful display. Other popular choices include beetles, ladybugs, and grasshoppers. Look for insects that are found in your area and begin there. With more than 900,000 insect types worldwide, you will always find insects to collect.
- Insects Information Sheets
- Start Online Bug Identification Key
- Nomina Insecta Nearctica
- 3D Virtual Insects