Week 8, Day 1: Insects!

This praying mantis in Bandelier National Monument says, “How’s it hanging?” (Photo by Sally King/NPS)

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.

Blog Post:

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!

Craft:

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.

What type of environment do insects like most? Let us know in the Google Form below or by sharing your pictures with us on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #peectakeitoutside!

Try using PEEC’s insect and spider guide to identify what you find. If you live outside of Northern New Mexico, you can also try this insect identification website.

Outdoor Challenge (Beginner):

A ladybug crawls across a leaf at Bandelier National Monument. (Photo by Sally King/NPS)

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!

Other Resources:

Share Your Experience:

What bugs can you find this week?! We’d love to see your photos, too. Please send them to takeitoutside@peecnature.org or share them on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #peectakeitoutside.

Join us tomorrow to explore more about insects!