Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Biodiversity, ecology, habitat
A picture of a beetle


It might seem impossible to estimate how many different bugs live in a nearby field, or how many types of birds live in a forest, but wildlife biologists often have to try to determine the number of different species in a given habitat. This plays an important role in helping us understand how healthy the environment is. In this activity, you will get to take on the role of a wildlife biologist by examining the biodiversity of bugs and other small invertebrates (such as spiders, centipedes, and roly-polies) in your neighborhood or backyard using a homemade bug vacuum!


Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.


  • Plastic container with lid, approximately one-cup or half-pint size
  • Single hole punch or leather awl. (Use caution and have an adult help with sharp objects.)
  • Two flexible drinking straws. (Wider ones are better, as they will allow larger bugs to be caught.)
  • Tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Nylon stocking that can be cut up
  • Scissors
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Access to an area in your yard, a field, or other outdoor place where you think bugs might live. Tip: These types of small invertebrates can often be found under rotting wood, stones, and decaying leaves. If it is hot and dry outside, more bugs may be found in shady and/or moist areas.



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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Biodiversity, ecology, habitat
icon scientific method

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