Insect Hunt

Fall seems like a great time to get the kids outside to go on an insect hunt.  For one thing, the weather it has cooled off and the temperatures are awesome.  You won’t have any complaints of being “sticky.” :)  Also, there are still lots of insects out and about, preparing for the coming winter.

In fact, it almost seems like there are more insects in the fall than there are in the summer.  The grasshoppers come out, the crickets chirp around, the caterpillars are crawling across the dense forest of grass in your yard.  The spiders build hugely remarkable webs (that I walk into and then freak out, scared to death that an enormous spider is crawling through my hair). 

I remember being a freshman in high school and having to do an entomology report as the first project of the semester.   Initially I thought that I wouldn’t be able to find any insects to observe but I was in for a surprise.  That’s the first time that I really noticed the all the insects in the Fall.  Also, I wasn’t that thrilled of having to hunt down insects so I pumped  my younger brothers and sisters up, promising them a reward, if they helped me find different insects. 

That science project has left some very fond memories in my head and ones that I figure you can use to encourage your kids to have their own insect hunt. 

How to Have an Insect Hunt

Before you can go on an insect hunt have the kids make homes for the insects that they might capture.  You could either find some jars (you can save old peanut butter jars, pickle jars, jelly jars… they make awesome containers to keep insects in.)  The kids can then put leaves, sticks, grass, and rocks inside the jars, making a home for the insects that they capture. 

If you have an old aquarium that you’re not using for fish, the kids could always equip that to hold all of the insects that they capture (though some insects might get eaten by others. :))

Now, it’s off to the insect hunt.  But where can you find all those insects?  Well, there are loads of places to look: 

  • Your yard is the perfect place to start
  • Go on a walk through a park and you’ll find lots of insects
  • If there’s a nature park nearby you’ll find lots of insect to catch
  • Walking trails have lots of insects crawling on them all the time
  • Look under big rocks

So, start with any of those places to actually find insects.

What kind of insects Should Kids Look for?

Here’s a list of 10 common insects that children can look for:

1.      Crickets – they’re black and shiny and chirp, chirp, chirp! 

2.      Grasshoppers – the female grasshoppers have a long white needle looking thing sticking out of their back.  This lets them lay their eggs (babies) in the fall in the ground and then the baby grasshopppers hatch in the spring.

3.      Butterfly – I always think that I see more butterflies in the Fall than I do in the spring or summer.  I really don’t know why though.  My little boy loves running after them as they flitter around the yard.

4.      Spider – I know I’ve said it in other posts but those spiders that come out in the Fall are huge!  And their webs are magnificent.  Kids should love marveling at these creatures of nature.

5.      Caterpillar – The caterpillars are getting ready to grow their cocoons for the winter so they’re inching their way across the yard to get ready for winter.  An interesting tidbit is that the furrier the caterpillar is, the colder the winter is going to be! 

6.      Lady Bug Beetles – some of these fly in groups to go hibernate for the winter so you could see lots of them around.

7.      Bumblebees or wasps – these little creatures are trying to round up as much honey as they can before the cold hits and they die off. 

8.      Flies – these are everywhere!  They want to try to get in to the house to seek the shelter of the warm air.

9.      Boxelder bug – these bugs are black with a little bit of red along the wings.  They are usually found near trees and are pretty common across the United States.

10.   Stink bug – usually brownish, grey.  They are pretty harmless but can eat up a lot of the garden if you have one.  If you want to find one, go to a sunny part of the house because they love soaking up the sun. 

So, those are 10 common insects that you can keep a look out for on your insect hunt.  And, if you want a FREE insect card to keep track of the insects the kids see then sign up for it below! 

Happy Hunting!

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