Make your own
 INSECT ZOO

There are many other worlds inside our world.  Worlds inside worlds.  Each one has a cycle of life that can be watched and studied, and a language that can be learned.  Some of these worlds are very small, but you can see them just the same.  Some languages are “silent”… but you can hear them if you try.

One way to do this is by making an insect zoo of your own, at home.  That way you can watch how the insects live.  You can find out interesting things like: if they work just to eat or if they build things, if they get together and work as a team, or spend most of their life alone.

One family that began collecting bugs for their insect zoo, soon had the whole neighborhood pitching in to add to their collection whenever an interesting insect was discovered.  But remember: collecting is only the first part.  There are more exciting things to do with the bugs after that.

The size of your insect zoo doesn’t matter as much as what you have inside.  For materials, you can use whatever you have at hand.  From a cardboard box with a viewing window cut in, all the way up to a five foot screened in structure on the end of your porch (that an adult can help you build), an insect zoo can provide hours of enjoyment for your family and friends.  For this activity we are going to show you how to make a box cage.




The Box Cage

This is the easiest way to make an insect zoo, because almost everybody can find a box of some kind around.  You will need:

A box
Some wire screen, or netting,

Clear plastic wrap for
  windows
tape
scissors
aluminum foil
the cap of a jar

Remove the top of the box and cut large windows in at least two of the sides so you will be able to see what your insects are doing.  Tightly tape clear plastic across the openings.

Line the bottom of the box with aluminum foil, so that when you put a layer of dirt down for the digging insects to burrow under, the cardboard will not absorb all the moisture and fall apart. This would be a good time to put the dirt in, too.  You can also plant some weeds or other plants,  and include a tall twig, or two, for the climbing insects to crawl on. 

Make a little “pond” by partly burying the jar cap in one of the corners.  You can even make a hill and pathways… this is a good time to be creative.  But remember, it is always best to try and make your insect zoo habitatas much like the area you found your bugs in.  They will live longer and have less stress in settings that are the most natural to them.

Now, tape your screen or netting across three-quarters of the top of the box. Cut the box top to fit the space that’s left.  You might want to overlap the edges a bit to make sure all the opening is covered (but don’t cover the screen… it’s for letting air in, without letting bugs out).  This is going to be the door.  Then cut another piece of the same size (as the door) and tape them both together to make it strong. 

In the middle of the top of the door, tape a stick or piece of wood that you can use for a handle.  Make it nice and sturdy because your door will be used often to get your bugs in and out, as well as for adding food and water.

There.  Now, all you need are the bugs.

 


 


 

Some interesting insect facts...

Ants can lift 50 times their body weight, but a honeybee can lift 300 times its own weight.

Dragonflies can fly 36 miles an hour.

There are more kinds of insects on earth than any other living creature.

Monarch butterflies can fly 1000 miles without stopping.

Some Mexican tarantulas (big spiders) can live up to 28 years.

 



Some words you might want to know...

 

cycle:
A reoccurring sequence of events.
 

absorb:
To soak up, or take something in (like water) through holes or pores.

habitat:
The place where a person or thing lives, or is most likely to be found.

sturdy:
Having or showing rugged physical strength. Strongly made or built.


 

Some interesting insect web sites...

 

 

 

 

Our last activity was:
(click on the picture to go there)

 Start your own Rock Collection