Entomology Archives - Page 2 of 5 - Eva Varga

March 8, 20144

career options

Does your child love insects and creepy crawlies?

Does she enjoy spending time outdoors, exploring nature?

Does he have jars and terrariums all over his bedroom with little critters he loves and cares for?

Do you pull up a lawn chair on your grandparents porch in the middle of the night to watch the moths flicker about the porch light?


If you answered yes to any one of these questions, a career in the field of entomology may just be the career for you.  Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Many entomologists specialize in a single order or even a family of insects.

The science of entomology provides many choices and opportunities for those interested in the diversity of nature. While some entomologists work in the field, others work in the laboratory or classroom, and others find niches in regulatory entomology or the pest control industry. The options for entomology careers are as diverse as insects themselves. Explore some of the fascinating careers described below.

entomologycareersEntomology Careers

research entomologist with the Forest Service who studies the chemical reaction between insects and plants.  Bugs’ Life Not so Rosy Around Young Entomologist

Forensic entomologists use their expertise and knowledge of insects to help solve crimes.

A plant protection entomologist typically works within the field of agriculture to the study of insects as they affect food, feed, and fiber crops. Meet Lincoln Moore, an entomologist with USDA and an educator at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Medical entomologists are concerned with the role insects play in causing diseases in animals and humans.

Convincing the public of the economic and physiological benefits of maintaining insect diversity is extremely important.; the perfect job for conservation entomologists.


Average Entry-Level:  $29,260 per year

Average:  $47,740 per year

If you are interested in further exploring entomology with your children, there are many activities and curriculum materials available.  I have developed a fun, hands-on unit study called Introductory Entomology.  It is a six-week unit that incorporates more than 10 hands-on activities and many suggested extension activities.

Introductory Entomology (Insects) Unit Study

July 31, 20133

National Moth Week is celebrated every year during the last full week of July.  We took part for the first time last week and were able to collect data in three distinct locations – two on the Oregon Coast and one in the North Sacramento Valley (outlined in the east by the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains and in the west by the Coastal Range).  In Oregon, we took on the challenge as described by hanging a white sheet between two trees with rope and upon nightfall, illuminated the area with a lantern.  In California, however, the moth came directly to us.

moth week

On our first night, much to our surprise, only one moth came to visit our sheet (image 1).  This little moth was very flighty however, and I was not able to get a very clear picture.  The kids eventually fell asleep so we removed the sheet and retired to our beds, vowing to try again the following day.   The second night took place about 28 miles north.  This time, not a single moth came to the sheet, however, we did observe one on the window screen of the house (image 2).  Later that day, we went for a long walk with Grandma and her friend Richard at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.  There, we observed several small Lepidoptera flitting about along the forest trail.  Though we were never able to get close enough for photos or identification.

It was hard not to get discouraged but our experience provided us with much to ponder.  Is it our battery operated light? Perhaps the energy efficient bulb?  Should we have left the sheet up all night long and checked in the morning?  Perhaps we should have smeared a fruit and stale beer concoction on the trees prior to dusk?  We discussed these possibilities on our long drive home the next day.

Later that evening, as we were preparing for bed once again, Buddy exclaimed, “Mom!  Come quick!  There is a moth on my bedroom door!”  Though we didn’t collect a lot of data, our enthusiasm has not waned and we look forward to trying it again in 2014. You can find a list of partners and how to submit your moth observations on the National Moth Week website, How to Submit Data.

Submitted to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival at Handbook of Nature Study.


June 16, 20131

Many of you will be interested in knowing that between July 20 and July 28, in backyards, woods, and fields around the world, citizen scientists will be setting up white sheets and lights for the second annual National Moth Week.   This global science project began a year ago to encourage the public to observe and document one of nature’s most diverse creatures. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, National Moth Week participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe.  If you are participating in my Introductory Entomology online course, this is the perfect opportunity for you to engage in meaningful, hands-on science.

national-moth-week2013smallPartner with Real Scientists

National Moth Week has many partner organizations that are repositories for data and photos about moths. These include Project Noah and BugGuide, among many others. Last year, these partner organizations received more than 3,500 submissions as a result of National Moth Week moth spottings!  You can participate too–just take photos of the moths you see, and upload them to one of the partner organizations with location and other data.

Identification Skills Not Required

You don’t have to identify your moths–they have experts that will help–but it would certainly be a great learning opportunity to try.  I challenge you to try your hand at identification–at least to the family level.  The photo you upload with your observations lets a specialist confirm ID.  The information gathered through citizen science projects like this is used to compile species checklists and distribution maps. The data, over time, becomes an invaluable record of species distribution. Science at its best!

Host a Moth Night of Your Own

So invite a few friends and contribute to this awesome project by hosting a moth night of your own.  What happens at a moth night? Basically, you put up a sheet and a light with a bunch of your friends, and sit around and wait for moths.  How simple is that?  And it is so much fun!


June 13, 2013

The past six weeks have been a lot of fun!  I am throughly enjoyed teaching the online Introductory Entomology Unit Study course.  As it is a self-directed course, the participants are continuing to work through the material at their own pace.  Access to the online materials shared via Google Docs will remain until the end of September (some for longer), so do not feel pressure to get through the material quickly.

entomology unit study

Entomology Unit Study eBook Now Available

I am excited to share that I have compiled all the activities and lessons I shared through this online course into one comprehensive unit study.  The Introductory Entomology Unit Study eBook includes all the lessons, notebooking pages, reference pages, and printables that were used in this course along with several bonus notebooking pages, handouts, lab activities, and a list of resources.  This eBook is available for only $9.90.

praying mantisImplementing the Lessons

Along the way, I have shared numerous posts providing glimpses into how I have implemented the lessons with my own children.  I have also shared links to samples of student work and other resources available in hopes of inspiring you and your children as you undertake a study of insects.

Entomology Course Outline

Week #1 – Insects in Art

Week #2 – Insect Collecting

Week #3 – Insect Survey for Kids

Week #4 – Insect Projects for Kids

Week #5 – Integrated Pest Management

Week #6 – Insect Inquiry

Many families will be continuing their entomology unit study through the summer. As always, I encourage you to share your own insect discoveries and student projects with us.  We would love to see your work!  Simply upload to our Flickr group or post a link in the comments. 🙂


June 5, 20131

Insects are so fascinating and are the most diverse group of animals on earth!   There are more species of insects than there are all other species combined. Their numbers are nothing short of remarkable, both in terms of the numbers of individuals as well as the number of species.

Introductory Entomology is a great way to keep the kids engaged in meaningful and fun science activities all summer long!  Everything is laid out in a simple and easy to follow manner – older kids will be able to do the lessons on their own!

entomology lessons for kids preview

Insect Lessons for Kids

In this 40-page unit study, students will be introduced to this remarkable subphylum (Hexapoda –  a group commonly referred to as hexapods and whose members have six legs) through hands-on activities, real life simulations, and multi-media presentations. The six-week unit incorporates more than 10 entomology lessons for kids and suggested extension activities.

I have to admit that this unit is one of my most favorites. Kids are naturally drawn to insects and have little inhibitions for the six-legged creatures.  In this unit study, I outline my favorite lessons and activities for exploring insects with your children or in your classroom.

Included in this unit study about bugs:

  • Full color overview
  • 11 notebooking pages
  • 11 printable handouts (student reference pages)
  • Detailed description of each step needed to teach every lesson
  • Links for exclusive videos and access to insect data compiled
  • Illustrated suggestions to build your own collecting tools
  • Links for collecting supplies and printed resources
  • Access to a closed Flickr group to share work and collaborate with others
  • Extension activities for all lessons
  • 2 long term projects

Available for only $9.90  

Introductory Entomology

June 4, 20131

I love this activity.  Not only does it provide a great opportunity to engage the kids in a cooperative learning activity, it also provides me with a fascinating glimpse into their world – how they think about things and how they have processed previous lessons.  Titled Integrated Pest Management, the lesson begins with a mini-lesson on the life-cycle of the mosquito.  We have observed the mosquito larvae on a nature outing in the past, Mosquitos: Summer Nature Study, so they had a great deal of prior knowledge.

Integrated Pest Management activity for kidsI then introduced the simulation … a local farmer has a problem with the mosquito population and needs their help to control the species using Integrated Pest Management techniques.  I share what that means and provide a few examples.  I then give them a map of the farmers property and ask that they work together to generate suggested strategies.  As they record their ideas, we discuss the pros (why this strategy could work) and cons (what other harm could this strategy cause) of each strategy.

It is amazing to me some of the ideas they come up with and the ideas they toss out of contention because of the potential harm it could cause other species.

Here’s a partial list of their ideas:

  • Install bat nesting boxes
  • Put a net over the pool when not in use
  • Install a filter system on the live stock water troughs
  • Get rid of the invasive blackberries

How about you?  Did you all come up with other ideas?  Why would removing invasive blackberries be beneficial?

If you are looking for more hands-on ideas and lessons about insects, I have compiled a number of my favorites in a unit study approach, Introductory Entomology. Through hands-on activities, real life simulations, and multi-media presentations this six-week unit incorporates more than 10 entomology lessons and suggested extension activities.