Insects are everywhere! Learn about some of the different types of insects that live near you and the important roles they play in the environment.

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Entomology

Spark Activity: Bug Hunt

 There are more types of insects on Earth than all other animals combined. While we usually think of them as pests, the vast majority of them are beneficial. Insects are food sources for other animals, they control pests, pollinate plants, and recycle organic matter. Take a walk through your yard or neighborhood and look for insects. Describe the following:

  • The places you found them.
  • Their activities or behaviors.
  • Their impact on the environment (beneficial or harmful?)
4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Learn the different types of insects (beetle, fly, butterfly, dragonfly, bee, etc.)
  • Learn the different parts of an insect
  • Begin an insect collection
  • Learn to identify some insects by species (monarch butterfly, honey bee, house fly, etc.)
  • Learn about the roles different types of insects play in the environment
  • Expand insect collection by using different types of traps/baits
  • Learn how to use a key to identify insects 
  • Learn the life histories of different species of insects 
  • Expand insect collection by using different types of traps and/or baits
Put Your Project Into Action

 Show Your Skills

  • Insect collection
  • Create a map and display about migration
  • Showcase examples of the life cycle of one or more insects

Service and Leadership

  • Plant a pollinator garden
  • Create a monarch waystation
  • Provide habitat for beneficial insects
  • Teach others about how insects are beneficial
  • Start a BioBlitz at your school or local park
  • Start a 4-H SPIN Club at your school


  • Keep honey bees and sell honey

Technology Connection

  • Take pictures of the insects you find - submit them to a citizen science initiative
  • Create a video discussing a particular insect

Connecting with a Mentor

  • Talk with a local Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, or Extension employee
  • Visit a local environmental education center


Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • Teaming with Insects 1  
  • Teaming with Insects 2    
  • Teaming with Insects 3

Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

girl with her entomology project
  • Science Teacher
  • Museum Guide
  • Entomologist
  • Crop Scout
  • Naturalist 
Start a Conversation

What is your favorite insect? Why? Why are insects important? What role do insects play in helping maintain the environment? What would the world be like without insects?


4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!