When and Where to Look for Insects

Insects occur almost everywhere, and the more places you examine the more kinds of insects you are likely to find. Insects are small and live in small habitats; different species may often be found only a few inches or a few feet apart. If you know where to look, you can find at least some insects virtually any time, but collecting will be more profitable from spring to fall than in the winter. Different insects are active at different times of the year, hence collecting throughout the year will yield a wider range of insects than collecting for only a part of the year.

You can begin your collecting at home, where you may find insects on pets, or infesting food, clothing, and other materials. On warm evenings outdoor insects are attracted to porch lights and windows of lighted rooms.

A good place outdoors to look for insects is on plants; each plant will attract certain species. Other insects occur in various concealed situations, such as in leaf litter or debris, under stones or other objects, in fungi, under bark, in dead logs, in decaying materials, and in the ground. Many insects live in water, either throughout their lives or during their immature stages, and may be found in different parts of specialized aquatic habitats. Adults of insects occurring in water only during their immature stages are usually found near water.

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