It’s week eight of Take It Outside! This week, we are learning about some of the smallest inhabitants of Northern New Mexico — bugs!
Today we are exploring some of the common insects that you might find on and around the Pajarito Plateau and have some activities to help you discover the insects that live around you!
If you haven’t already, please share your feedback on Take It Outside with us by filling out this evaluation form.
PEEC’s Adventure Programs Manager and resident insect expert, Beth Cortright, explores some of the different types of insects that you might find on the Pajarito Plateau. Learn about them here!
We share our home on the Pajarito Plateau with many six-legged creatures. Make a pitfall trap and see what insects are living in your own backyard! Get instructions here.
If you’d like, you can add some fruit or meat to the bottom of your cup to attract more insects and try placing several different traps in different locations around your yard to see where insects are most abundant. Check them every few hours or leave them out overnight for best luck.
Outdoor Challenge (Beginner):
Go on an insect scavenger hunt! Walk around your backyard or on a nearby trail and see if you can find an insect in the following places:
- Under a log or rock
- Visiting a wildflower
- On a tree
- Flying through the air
- Crawling across the ground
Take a picture or sketch your subjects in your nature journal. Note the bug’s size, color, whereabouts, and behavior. When you get home, use our online Nature Guides to help you identify what you saw! We’d love to hear about what you found!
Outdoor Challenge (Advanced):
Take a night walk to look and listen for insects. Bring a flashlight and shine it onto a white sheet or wall to attract more insects. Insects sometimes flock to lights because natural moonlight reflecting off water signals a good place to lay eggs.
You might find lots of insect larvae in the ground or in your pitfall trap (today’s craft), but you’re more likely to find adult insects flocking to lights. Let us know what differences you find!
- Do you want to learn more about the different bugs found in Northern New Mexico? Check out PEEC’s online Insect and Spiders Guide and our Butterfly Guide to learn more about what you might be seeing around the Pajarito Plateau.
- Learn about New Mexico’s state insect, the tarantula hawk wasp, in this article from New Mexico Magazine.
- Explore some of the common insects and spiders found in Bandelier National Monument.
- If you’d like to take a deeper dive into learning about our state’s insects, check out New Mexico State University’s “100 Common Insects of New Mexico” guide.
Share Your Experience:
Join us tomorrow to explore more about insects!