Get bug hunting for National Insect Week!
Here’s a great idea for National Insect Week – make a sweep net with your child and go on a bug hunt.
National Insect Week runs from the 25th of June to the 1st of July and is organised by the Royal Entomological Society. The educational week is designed to show you more about the diverse insect world around us. We spoke to National Insect Week to find out how best to enjoy this week. They suggested a bug hunt!
Homemade sweep nets are great for swishing through grass and catching small insects, although not suitable for butterflies or moths. Insect sweep nets can be bought but they can also be expensive, so this method is definitely cheaper and great to practise with.
Make your own sweep net
To make a sweep net you just need a coat hanger, a bamboo cane (no more than 1m long) and a wide carrier bag or old pillow case, white or pale is best so that you can see what you catch.
Pull out the coat hanger to make a circle but don’t untwist or cut it. Straighten out the hook and slot it into the bamboo cane and secure with some tape. Attach the carrier bag or pillow case to the coat hanger using strong tape and there you go. A sweep net!
Go out on a bug hunt
Find an area of long grass on a warm day and walk through it while moving the net gently from side to side in a ‘S’ shape, making sure that the mouth of the net hits the grass first so that the insects go into your net.
When you have moved the net back and forth 10 or more times, it’s time to inspect your catch. Leave the net open for a few seconds before emptying to allow any bees or wasps you have caught to escape before you take a look. Empty the net into a shoe box or sweet jar (a white tray is best of all) by reversing it through the coat hanger frame.
Most people are surprised how much they catch! Try and name all of the bugs you’ve caught with your little one before gently releasing them all back into the wild.
Photography: Dave Parker @Flickr