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NC State Extension

Insect Observation

en Español

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See what insects are in Liz’s garden. Can you find some similar insects?


  • Yourself and your keen powers of observation.
  • Optionally, you might want to bring a magnifying glass, a collecting jar or plastic bag and print one of the insect checklists to guide your discovery.
  • Safety Note: Always be careful when observing insects! Some insect sting and bite and you might have a severe allergic reaction – ask an adult if this is true for you. Also when looking through wood piles, be careful of snakes and black widows.
Take these lists out to your garden, park, or pond and see how many you can find!

Let’s Do It!

Go outside and explore your world! How many insects can you find? Where can you look?

    1. Step outside and look around. Do you see any flying insects? What do they look like?
    2. Carefully look under the leaves (but don’t touch poison ivy!) of plants and shrubs. Find anything?
    3. Noodle around on the ground. Push aside dead leaves, twigs, and soil. See anything?
    4. Is there a pond or a creek near you? Ask an adult to walk you to the water. Look for insect friends that might swim, dive, or even “stride” on water.
    5. What about your home? Some insects are good at living in homes; cockroaches, camel crickets, ants, or termites, oh my!
    6. Where else can you find insects?
    7. Use the “Garden Insect Checklist” and/or the “Pollinator Checklist” and mark the ones you find.

Talk It Over!

  1. How many different insects did you see today? Did you catch more or fewer insects than you predicted?
  2. Why do we find certain insects in certain environments?
  3. How can you pay attention to the insects you share your world with?
  4. Why are insects important? What do different insects do?
  5. What did you learn today?