Backyard Bugs!

As the sun starts to set earlier this fall, here’s an activity to do on a cool evening with the whole family.

Have you ever wondered why bugs follow the light? Or are you curious about just how many different bugs live right in your backyard? Many insects navigate using natural light sources, such as the sun or the moon. Bug out in your own backyard and witness just how much biodiversity you have right at home! In this activity, you will use a sheet that simulates the moon to guide bugs right where you want them so that you can see them all up close and personal!

Here’s What You Need:

1 large white bed sheet or piece of butcher paper

2 flashlights

1 roll of duct tape

Optional: 1 magnifying glass


Find a large, open spot on a wall or tree.

Tape the sheet or butcher paper to a wall or tree so that it is hanging down vertically.

Set up flashlights so that they are pointing towards the sheet of paper.

Turn on flashlights and leave them on for a couple of hours. This step is best done right before or when the sun goes down.

Come back and look at the different bugs on your sheet of paper using the magnifying glass or just your eyes.

Ask Yourself:

How many bugs did you find? How many different types of bugs did you find? How many bugs did you see after 30 minutes? How many after 60 minutes? Were the bugs you found large or big? What if you did this project at another time, perhaps early in the morning versus in the evening? Would there be different bugs? Do you think the time of year makes a difference? Would there be different bugs in a different season? Do you notice a difference if you change the location in the backyard? How do you think the location that you picked impacted the variety and number of bugs that you found? How might you change this experiment in the future to answer some of these questions?