Beetles That Click? Bugs That Assassinate? Time to Enter Your Insect Collection to the NC State Fair

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We are surrounded by a diversity of insects. There are over 1 million named species of insects and it is estimated that there may be as many as 10 million species on earth. Insects live in our yards, parks, forests, fields, mountains, deserts, tundras, and even our homes. Insects are important because of their diversity, ecological role, and influence on agriculture, human health, and natural resources. They cycle nutrients, pollinate plants, disperse seeds, maintain soil structure and fertility, control populations of other organisms, and provide a major food source for other organisms.

shiny green metallic tiger beetle

This six-spotted tiger beetle can often be found running along forested paths. They are fast and ferocious and catch other insects to eat both as an adult and a larva.

Creating an Insect Collection

An insect collection is one way to be able to observe, understand, appreciate, and steward the entomological wonders around us. The North Carolina 4-H Insect Collection at the NC State Fair provides youth a way to showcase their interest in insects. Youth are encouraged to take the time to explore the outdoors and create a collection of their discoveries.

Through the process of collecting insects, youth begin to learn different species of insects and understand the relationships between insects and their environment, the importance of habitat, and the relationships between species groups such as hosts, predators, and parasites. The more we understand about insects, the more strategies we have for protecting and stewarding these important organisms.

image of green sweat bee

This native sweat bee, an Agapostemon, is a terrific pollinator and nests in the ground.

Insect collections can be enjoyed and studied for many years. You can observe physical features like hairs and wing patterns that can be hard to discern while observing. Specimens in museums provide a historic record of biological diversity and can show changes in distribution and abundance of species over time. You might even find a new species that has never been described before!

Ready to get started? Register for the North Carolina 4-H Insect Collection project at the NC State Fair and continue to grow your collection with these tips and tricks!

image of the insect collections at the NC State Fair

The 4-H Entomology Insect Collection at the North Carolina State Fair is a fun way to learn about insects!