Entomology (Insects)

monarch butterfly

Are You Into It?

Entomology is the study of insects and all six-legged creatures. Getting to know insects can be a fun way to get outside and see what is there. There are insects everywhere on Earth, even in the coldest Arctic! .

Here's what you can do all year!

Starting Out Basic/ Level 1

  • Learn about different insect body parts
  • Find out how Insects communicate with one another
  • Research what types of bugs are considered pests 
  • Demonstrate how to make an insect net and how to use it

Learning More Intermediate/ Level 2

  • Research how insects use color to blend in with their environment
  • Learn the life cycle and life stages of insects
  • Find out where insects live
  • Interview an exterminator about what insects are considered pests

Expanding Horizons Advanced/ Level 3

  • Create a butterfly garden to attract butterflies to your home
  • Find out how different types of insects eat
  • Start your own insect collection
  • Learn how to classify insects in different groups
  • Investigate the importance of wings and flying in insects

Interesting Insects

Fireflies

  1. Watch the Light Show.  Look for males flashing as they fly and females twinkling in one place.  See if you can figure out their flash patterns.  Are they all one species or several different ones?
  2. Talk Back.  Using a small flashlight, try imitating the patterns you see.  If you flash the male's pattern, a female may flash back.  Try the female's response; you may lure a made right to your fingertips!
  3. Catch and Release.  For a close-up look, catch a few fireflies in a jar.  Check them out and then let them go, of course.
  4. Be Firefly-Friendly.  Make your neighborhood a good habitat for fireflies.  Turn off bright outdoor lights, which "drown out" fireflies' messages.  Avoid lawn chemicals.  Plant trees, shrubs, and grasses to provide places for the beetles to rest and hide.

Firefly

Step It Up

Leadership

  • Plan a field trip for a youth group to visit an insectary.
  • Hold a workshop to show younger 4-Hers how to make their own bug collection.

Citizenship

  • Complete a Service Learning project
  • Plant a butterfly garden for an elementary school, daycare, or nursing home.
  • Create a caterpillar or butterfly display for a classroom so students can see the real life change from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly!

Communications

  • Conduct a workshop to help people understand household pests and how to control them.
  • Visit the local nursing home and give a presentation about insects.  Bring your insect collection or jars of insects to share for show and tell!

Exhibit Ideas

Take a look at  "Making an Entomology Exhibit" to get some great ideas on where to start with your project!
Create a poster showing different crop pests and their natural predators.
Make an insect display with scientific and common names.
Create a butterfly garden in your backyard and record the species that visit it.  These websites will help you get started!  University of Kentucky University of Minnesota
Interview a bee producer and learn why bees are important to plants and the environment.
Start an insect collection.
Make a poster showing the different invasive species in your area, how they affect the ecosystem, and how they are spread.
Create a list of beneficial insects and find out what makes them beneficial
Some butterflies and insects migrate.  Find out which ones do and where they go for the winter.

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