Observe Bugs at Night

Set up a light and a white screen, and you’ll see all sorts of new bugs at night – like a bug movie.


What You Need

  • Cipboard (optional)
  • Clothes pins
  • Extension cord, if light source is not battery operated
  • Insect repellant, if you are concerned about mosquito bites
  • Light source (lamp or lantern)
  • Magnifying glass (optional)
  • Paper or sketchbook (optional)
  • Pencil (optional)
  • Rope (twice as long as your pillow case or towel)
  • White pillow case or towel


What You Do

  1. Find a place to hang a short clothesline at the height of your shortest bug observers.
    The line only needs to be about the length of a pillow case.
    Then pin a white pillow case to the line.
    Bring in a light source. We used a tall lamp with the lampshade removed. We put the light about one foot away from the pillow case. We ran an extension cord to the house to bring power. You could also use a camping lantern.
  2. Turn off any nearby lights.
    Wait at least 10 minutes. Slowly the insects will become attracted to your light and will land on the white pillow case or towel. Then you can observe them up close.
    On your clipboard, you could draw some of the bugs you see, or keep track of approximately how many of each type came to your bug observation station.