Bugging Insects

Paper or Styrofoam Cup
Waxed Paper
Elastic Band


1) Use the cup to capture an insect.  Everybody should try capturing a different insect so they can be shared around.
2) Stretch a piece of waxed paper over the top of the cup and secure it with the elastic band. The waxed paper should be pulled tight across the cup.
3) Hold the cup next to your ear and listen to the beat of the insect’s wings.  Can you hum along to the beat?  Make sure you get a chance to listen to everyone’s insects!
4) Do the different insects sound different?  In what ways do they sound different?
5) Once all the insects have been listened to, please release them back to the wild!

Explanation: The “insect amplifier” you just built increases the volume of the sound of an insect’s wings beating.  The beating wings cause the air in the amplifier chamber to vibrate; in turn, the air moves the waxed paper covering the cup.  An insect that works especially well in the chamber is the mosquito!

Did you know…

A mosquito’s wings flap about 300 times/second.
A honeybee’s wings flap about 250 times/second.
A housefly’s wings flap about 190 times/second.

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