Insect Experiments

Cold-Blooded Insects

In this experiment you'll be testing the effects of temperature on cold-blooded insects. Do bugs like the heat or do they like the cold?

What You'll Need:

  • Bug net
  • Tall clear plastic cup
  • Thermometer
  • Mesh
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Refrigerator

Cold-Blooded Insects Experiment
Observe insects at
different temps.

How to Do Cold-Blooded Insects Experiment:

Step 1: Use your bug net to capture an insect.

Step 2: Place your insect in a tall clear plastic cup. Place a thermometer in the cup, and cover the cup with mesh.

Step 3: Record the temperature, and observe the activity of the insect.

Step 4: Put the cup in the refrigerator until it is 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the first temperature. Observe the behavior of the bug. Has it changed?

Step 5: Repeat the entire process at a temperature 15 degrees cooler.

Step 6: Put the insect (still in the cup) back into its home environment.

Step 7: Remove the plastic lid. Observe how long it takes for the insect to leave the cup.

What Happened?

Insects do not maintain a constant body temperature, as people and other mammals do.

For example, people maintain a 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. This temperature is fairly constant, even in cold or warm weather. For this reason, we are called warm-blooded, or endothermic.

The body temperatures of insects, however, are highly influenced by their environments. If the weather is warm, their body temperatures are warm. If the weather is cold, so are they. When their bodies become cold, they slow down and may even stop. Insects and reptiles are cold-blooded, or ectothermic.

Fun Facts
  • Cold-blooded organisms need less food when it is cold because their activity slows.
  • The hawk moth's body temperature is the same as the air when it is at rest. When this huge moth flies, its wings work hard and create a lot of body heat. Thus, when it flies, its body temperature is much warmer than the air.

Create some creepy bloodworms in the next insect experiment.

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