Nocturnal Insects in Your Area

Middle School and High School Science Fair Project
Photo © 2010 William Cho, Flickr

This science fair project from McGraw-Hill Professional and 46 Science Fair Projects for the Evil Genius (via is designed with two parts for those students interested in life science, specifically the study of area insects. First students are asked to construct several insect collection devices, hypothesizing which will attract the greatest number of bugs in the allotted time period, and second, students are charged with the task of identifying the nocturnal insect populations that reside in their local area, evaluating sample to determine if they might be a potential health hazard to humans. Project Overview

Part #1 To construct the insect collection devices, students will need four recycled 2-liter soda bottles, four wide mouth jars with lids, four pieces of black construction paper, two flashlights, and water. For help with device construction and assembly, pictures and directions can be found at In the first round of experimentation, students will use their constructed devices to test the "insect attraction" success of two variables - light (simulated with a flashlight) and water - keeping all other variables (i.e. location, time period, etc.) constant.

Tested Device Combinations

  • Device A. Dry, no flashlight.
  • Device B. Dry, with flashlight.
  • Device C. Wet, no flashlight.
  • Device D. Wet, with flashlight.

Part #2 Using a book on entomology, identify the insects collected in each device, comparing the results to the findings on insects that can carry and transmit diseases harmful {and even life-threatening} for humans. Consider completing some of the extension exercises and questions to round out your research on the nocturnal insect population of your local area. Be sure to read the full post at for project procedure, conclusions, diagrams, and extensions!