How to make a bug vacuum? – Wildlife scientists frequently have to make estimates of the number of various species in a specific habitat, even though it may seem difficult to know how many distinct sorts of bugs are in a nearby field or how many kinds of birds inhabit a forest.
This is crucial in assisting us in comprehending the state of the ecosystem. You will get to play the part of a wildlife researcher in this exercise by using a homemade bug vacuum to look at the biodiversity of bugs and other minute invertebrates (including spiders, centipedes, and roly-polies) in your neighborhood or backyard!
How to make a bug vacuum for kids 2022
Pint-size mason jar with two-piece lid
Milk or juice carton (paperboard)
2 bendy straws
- Open the milk carton along the seams and flatten it out. Use the inner lid of the mason jar as a template to trace a circle on the carton. Cut out the circle and punch two holes in the center about an inch apart.
- Carefully slide the short ends of the bendy straws into the holes. Tape a piece of gauze pad around the end of one straw to prevent any bugs from getting sucked up.
- Set the lid on the jar and fasten it in place with the ring.
- To use your pooter, place the tip of the straw without the gauze near a bug. Put your mouth on the straw with the gauze, and gently suck in. The bug should travel up the straw and land unharmed at the bottom of the jar.
How to make a bug vacuum easily at home
- Plastic container with lid, approximately one-cup or half-pint size
- Single hole punch or leather awl. (Use caution and have an adult help with sharp objects.)
- Two flexible drinking straws. (Wider ones are better, as they will allow larger bugs to be caught.)
- Pen or pencil
- Nylon stocking that can be cut up
- Clear plastic wrap
- Access to an area in your yard, a field, or other outdoor place where you think bugs might live. Tip: These types of small invertebrates can often be found under rotting wood, stones, and decaying leaves. If it is hot and dry outside, more bugs may be found in shady and/or moist areas.
With the help of an adult, make a hole in the side of the plastic container using a single hole punch or carefully using a leather awl. The hole should be about a half inch below the top rim of the container. Make sure that when the container has its lid on, it does not block the hole.
Make a hole opposite the previous one using the same method, this time about a half inch below the top rim of the container.
A flexible straw’s mouth end should be inserted into one of the holes. Insert the straw into the container approximately an inch deep. If the straw does not fit into the hole firmly, you should wrap tape around it until it does. If the straw doesn’t fit because the hole is too small, carefully enlarge it with a pen or pencil until it does. Make sure there is a tight fit between the straw and the hole.
Put a tiny piece of nylon stocking over the second straw’s mouth end to seal it off. The stocking component should be taped to the straw. If required, overlap two layers of the stocking to create a barrier between air and insects.
The second straw’s covered end should be inserted into the second container hole. Once more, ensure a tight fit before inserting the straw somewhat deeper than an inch into the container.
The plastic container’s top should have the middle cut out. To accomplish this, fold the lid in half and cut away the middle, leaving a half-inch border around the rim. This will be your bug vacuum’s observation window.
Stretch a piece of clear plastic wrap over the top of the plastic container.
- To keep the plastic wrap in place, simply snap the container’s lid back on. To prevent your subjects from escaping, make sure the plastic wrap is completely sealed.
Make a Bug Vacuum with your Kids
Bug vacuums are available for purchase. But those battery-powered devices don’t last long until they break. Make this bug vacuum out of some materials that aren’t hard to come by instead.
Even better, have your children help you make it. Together, you can breeze through this project without breaking a sweat.
Capture some ants in the bug vacuum, then use a magnifying glass to observe them up close. Open the jar and feed them a few drops of sugary water or corn syrup, or try giving them some birdseed. Ants live in colonies headed by a queen ant, and they can’t last long on their own. When you are done observing, release the ants where you found them. (Note: Some ants bite, so be careful.).
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