Adopt-An-Insect - Traps & More

Here are a few ideas to help you catch a few insects!

Baked Potato Invertebrate Trap- A fun lesson using baked potatos to capture and examine invertebrates in the soil. Complete details can be found on the page along with student data sheets and discussion questions!

Insect Trap Ideas from the University of Kentucky - Visit the Entomology for Kids site to learn how to make a variety of traps and collecting equipment, such as an aspirator, an underwater light trap, or regular light trap.

Light Screen Trap
To create this type of trap, hang a clothesline between two trees or poles. Drape a large white sheet over the line and place an electric light behind the sheet. Wait until dark, turn on the light, and watch for the critters! An alternative is to drape a sheet over a wooden clothes dryer and place the light inside your screen trap. Challenge your students to create the "best" screen trap. Experiment with different colored bulbs to see which color attracts the most insects. Try adding various scents to your screen trap to determine if a specific scent increases the number of visitors. Place your traps in different locations around the schoolyard or nature area. Collect data from each location and compare the results. I am sure your students will be able to come up with an assortment of ideas to build a better insect trap!

Simple Killing Jar (Directions provided by Jim Stoekel, Natural History Survey)

Clean glass jars with lids (various sizes)
Plaster of Paris
Fingernail Polish Remover
Kleenex or Paper Towels

NOTE: One 4-lb container of Plaster of Paris fills approximately 24 quart sized jars.

(1) Prepare the plaster mixture as directed on package. Pour a layer (approx. 1/3 to 1/2”) in the bottom of each jar. Leave the lid off and allow to dry overnight.

(2) Once the plaster is dry, pour a small amount of fingernail polish remover in each jar and allow time for absorption. Pour off any remaining amount into a safe container.

(3) Add a Kleenex or small piece of paper towel to the jar. This will prevent damage to the insects after they are placed in the jar.

(4) Catch insects and place in jar. Wait several minutes for the fumes to work, then remove the insect. NOTE: The killing jar may be used several times before needing “recharged”. Simply add more fingernail polish remover to recharge the killing jar.

CAUTION: Be sure to prepare in well ventilated area away from flame. Students should not breathe the fumes and wash any skin area that comes in contact with the fluid. Consult the label of the fingernail polish remover for safety precautions. It is always a good idea to label your jars!


| Back to top |


Privacy Policy

© 1999-2024
The Science Spot was developed in March 1999 by Tracy Tomm Science Teacher @ Havana Junior High, Havana, IL.  Activities, lessons, & worksheets available on any page of this web site are intended for use by a single teacher in his/her classroom or to share at educational conferences.  Reproduction for commercial use or profit is not permitted without the consent of Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm. Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.