As parents that day will come when the neighbor kid gets a puppy and from that day forward your child is going to be hounding you to get a pet.
The best way to learn about insects is to get into the fields and woods and observe the habitat the bugs live in.
It’s a blast exploring new areas with family or friends. Bugs are everywhere so you don’t need to go to a exotic place to study and collect insects.
You can start at your local park or abandoned field near your house. With some real inexpensive equipment you will be ready to catch your own pet insect that you can bring home and study. Then after a day or two you release your pet where you caught it and catch a new insect to keep.
When you take your bug home I would recommend taking a few pictures and write down a few notes about where you caught the insect and what kind of bug it is.
A great place to get bug collecting equipment for kids is the Dollar Store. They have everything you need to become a junior entomologist besides a good field identification guide.
The butterfly net above cost a dollar and will work perfect for collecting insects. If your going to be sweeping fields with your net you will definitely need something more sturdy.
You can catch bugs with your hands but you will better your odds with a net. Using a bug net also protects the insect from being squashed when caught.
Housing your child’s pet insect can be as easy as punching a few holes in the top of a pickle jar and adding a few sticks. Your goal is to give your pet bug enough room to move around and shed it’s skin.
Your bug also needs proper ventilation and needs to be kept in a room that does not get to cold. If your catching bugs in your backyard then room temperature is just fine. However if your keeping tropical species that require higher temps and higher humidity then your enclosure may require an alternate heat source.
An insect field guide is a must have for anyone studying bugs. You can find these guides at thrift stores or buy them online.
You would be amazed at how many species actually live in your backyard. It’s fun to learn the names of the insects and some facts about them. You can become the local bug expert in your neighborhood. I have found that if I share the information I learn like a bugs name I tend to remember a lot better.
I would recommend buying a general guide with all insects specific to your area of the country. As an example I live in Minnesota where the insects are only out for 7 months of the year and the variety of insects is a lot less then lets say South Florida. So the book in the middle of the picture is the one I use the most “Insects of the Northwoods”
After you start collecting insects in the wild and begin bringing them home and studying them. It’s important to share what you learned with others. If your in school this is a great chance to share your knowledge at the science fair or you could write a report or give a presentation about the insects you keep. It’s a lot easier to write about something if you really enjoy the subject and it’s a great chance to get a great grade on the project.
Here are a few subjects you could write about.