What You Need for the Best Bug Hunt Ever!
Bug hunting is easy it's as simple as go outside and look for bugs! We have compiled a list of top tips that will help make sure you find some interesting little critters to keep your Little Trekkers entertained for hours!
What You Need
Your basic kit should consist of:
- Bug container a clear plastic tub or jam jar with air holes so your find's can be fully examined before being released back into the wild.
- Tweezers for picking up creepy crawlies (A plastic spoon is often a better choice for smaller children who may squeeze a little too hard with tweezers!!)
- Camera or sketchbook and pencil for recording your findings, you can then either refer to an identification guide either while you are on your hunt or when you get home and see what kinds of bugs you have discovered.
- Hand wash gel/ sanitiser for obvious reasons!
- Magnifying glass (optional)
How You do It
Before you begin it is a good idea to discuss the qualities of a good bug hunter with you Little Trekkers to avoid any nasty stings or an unfortunate squashing of their find. Remind children that they need to search carefully, disturb the surroundings as little as possible, handle only a few, but look at many creatures and replace any logs and stones that they overturn.
The best place to start is at home in your own back garden, the first place to look is around your house, garage or shed.
- Window frames and sills often provide undisturbed places for ladybirds, spiders, houseflies to hide.
- Check in the walls of your building, in ivy and other climbing plants as they provide safe habitats and are often used throughout the year by small mini beasts.
- Look in the cracks in paving slabs and rocks, under plant pots, in guttering and behind drainpipes, and any places that would provide shelter for a variety of mini beasts.
- Check in flower heads and look in and around your grass and topsoil by digging gently in the soil you will find ants, earthworms, millipedes and centipedes.
Encourage closer examination by asking questions such as:
- What colour is it?
- How many legs does it have?
- How big is it compared to a coin?
- Does it have wings?
- Where did you find it?
- How does it move?
- Is it eating anything?
Make a Bug a Home
To guarantee your Little Trekkers find some good creatures here are some more great ideas for you to try.
Make a Soggy Home
Soak 4-5 newspapers in water and leave out in the garden for a few days- check what’s underneath!
Set Up a Pit Fall Trap
Dig a small hole in the ground large enough to insert a yogurt pot or similar sized container, making sure the soil is level with the top of the container.
Place a few small stones or pebbles in the bottom of the pot and leave for a few hours or ideally overnight. come back later to discover what creepy crawlies you have caught.
Place an old tea towel or sheet under a bush then when you are ready, give it a good shake and examine the sheet.
A bug hunt is also a good way of keeping Little Trekkers occupied when out walking on your favourite routes. There may be long grass, wildflowers, shrubs, trees, rotting logs, old sacking or rotting carpet, large stones and rocks, or ponds and streams along your chosen route which are all great places to find not only bugs and insects but other small animals according to the season.
Rotting logs provide an excellent habitat for many mini beasts. Some beetles need rotting wood to provide food for young grubs as soon as they are hatched. Both slugs and snails like the moist conditions in the damp ground beneath a log. Lift moss on rotting logs to look for tiny spiders and larvae. Some slugs live under stones and are never exposed to light.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can buy bug hunting kits from most toy shops but one of the best things about going on a bug hunt is that you don’t really have to spend anything at all, most of the things you will need can be found lying around your home.
Often local nature reserves such as the RSPB offer bug hunting and pond dipping workshops in the school holidays which normally cost a few pounds per child to participate but they provide everything you will need including the expertise of a guide who can answer almost any question your little ones can throw at them!
- A good identification book would be useful if you are going for the educational factor
- Creatures should be studied in their natural habitat or returned there as soon as possible.
- Look carefully many insects and mini beasts are camouflaged and can be tricky to spot, take it slowly, look very carefully and be quiet!
- Look for signs of bugs too, sometimes cobwebs and cocoons are just as interesting as the creatures themselves.
- Tags: bugs