Insect Experiments


Night Crawlers

Which insects are the real night crawlers? Some bugs like the light, some like the dark. Do this insect experiment to find out what bugs prefer.

What You'll Need:

  • Sheet of acetate (used for transparencies)
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Mesh
  • Safety scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Dark paper
  • Insects

    Night Crawlers Insect Experiment
    Some bugs only come out at night.

How to Make Night Crawlers:

Step 1: Roll up the sheet of acetate into a tube about 2 inches in diameter. Tape it together in the middle to keep it from unrolling.

Step 2: Cut 2 squares of mesh, each large enough to cover the ends of the tube. Tape mesh to one end to close it off.

Step 3: Put dark paper over half of the tube. Tape it so it surrounds the acetate roll.

Step 4: Put some insects inside. These can be insects you catch or buy, such as crickets, fruit flies, ladybugs, or mealworms. Close the other end of the tube with mesh and tape.

Step 5: Every 15 minutes, count how many bugs are in the dark and how many are in the light areas.

Step 6: After 1-1/2 hours, count the number of insects in both the light and dark areas.

Safety Tip: Do not investigate insects that bite!

What Happened?

How organisms react to their environments determines their behavior. Many bugs seem to have a preference for either light or dark. Some bugs, such as pill bugs and crickets, prefer dark conditions. Other bugs are attracted to light.

Fun Fact
Moths are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. Seeing moths by lamps and other lights may make you think they are attracted to the lights, but in reality, they are confused. Moths are accustomed to using distant light sources, such as the moon or the sun, to navigate. The artificial light throws moths off; they loop closer and closer to the source until they hit it.


Check out what insects and goldenrods have in common next.

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