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Insects to watch

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Insects to watch

As insects eat, they leave behind damaged plants and other signs of feeding. Sometimes these signs are easier to spot than the insects themselves. Look in a small area, such as a fallen log, a shrub or a bush. Hundreds of insects will be near, but most are small and wary. Discover the eating habits and preferences of different insects in the first project.

Look for freshwater insects, such as beetles and bugs in ponds and streams. Spring and summer are good times to look, because the young insects turn into adults at these times. You could even make a small pool for insects in your yard. Ask a responsible adult if you may dig the pond. To catch water insects, you will need a net, which you can make easily yourself. When you catch insects at the pond, take an adult with you for your safety. Approach the water quietly, to disturb the wildlife as little as possible. Different insects live in various places in the pond or stream. Some live near the surface, while others swim near the bottom. Gently lift up stones and pebbles to find the creatures that lurk on the underside. Always replace them carefully, so that you disturb the habitat as little as possible.

Most plant-eating insects prefer one particular food, and may eat only a part of that food plant. Some insects leave ragged holes in leaves. Aphids and other bugs leave brown and yellow lines on crops when they suck out the sap.

Food Samples

You will need:

Stiff card, compass and pencil, scissors, four garden sticks, small sample o0f food (such as jelly, meat, cheese and fruit), notebook, field guide.

Insects to watch

food sample step01

1. Make four circles on the card with the compass. Cut them out. Use the point of compass or a pencil to make holes in the centers of the circles. Push the sticks through the holes.
food sample step02

2. Plant the sticks in the ground. Push the food samples on the sticks, so they rest on the circles. Do insects prefer certain foods? Are there more insects around at different times of the day?

Insect Pool

You will need:

garden gloves, trowel, plastic bowl, gravel, water plants, large stones, watering can.

insect pool step-01

1. Wear gloves when you are making your insect pool. Dig a hollow in the ground with the trowel. The hole should be big enough to fit an old plastic bowl inside.
insect pool step-02

2. Place the bowl in the hollow and press it down firmly. Spread gravel on the bottom and in the water plants. Place stones around the edge of the bowl and inside it.
insect pool step-03

3. Then fill the bowl with water using a watering can. Your pool is now finished and ready for occupation. Insects and other animal lofe will soon be attracted to the pool.

Make a pond net

You will need:

Make a pond net: wire, thin sock, pliers, long pole or broom handle, jubilee clip from a hardware shop, screwdriver, pitcher, empty plastic, ice-cream container, magnifying glass, field guide.

pond net step-01

1. Begin your pond net by threading wire in and out through the top of a thin sock. You may need to use a pair of pliers to bend the wire into a circle.
pond net step-02

2. Use the pair of pliers to twist the ends of the wire together to make the net secure. Ask an adult to help if you need to. Now position the net at the end of a long pole.
pond net step-03

3. Carefully thread the jubilee clip over the pole and push the twisted wires under the clip as shown above. Tighten the clip using a screwdriver. Ask an adult to help you do this.
pond net step-04

4. Down at the pond, capture insects by sweeping your net gently through the water. Lightly tap the stems of plants to knock other insects into your net.
pond net step-05

5. Empty a pitcher of pond water into a container. Empty your net into it. Study the creatures you have caught. Tip the water and creatures back into the pond when you have finished.
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