To most people, insects are “bugs”. A naturalist knows that there are many types of insects and insect-like animals in the weeds or in a butterfly garden. How is a fly different from a bee? How is a beetle different from a true bug? This activity is about trying to answer those questions and to get outside to see some of these critters.
Insect study is best from mid July to the first frost. One of the “keys” to having a successful insect hike is to locate flowers that are in “peak bloom”, because they will be covered with many species of insects.
Another way to experience an insect’s world is to use a camera that has a macro setting on it. A camera with a macro setting allows the naturalist to take close-up photos of an insect. Since most insects are very busy work- ing, you can get within inches of them and not disturb them. However, for insects like butterflies and dragon- flies, you will need a telephoto lens on your camera, because their “fright distance” is greater.
The best critter watching is usually in an area off a trail. So it is important to watch where you are walking and not disturb any pollinating bees. Luckily, most bees that are working flowers are too busy to be aware of intruders. Also, watch out for bees flying out of a small hole in the ground, as they may be ground-nesting bees.
What to do: Go out in the weeds and see if you can find types of insects represented below. Make a check in the box next to each type of insect your find.