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Where to Collect Insects

Although many insects are easily found, certain kinds live in obscure and unusual places. Discovering where, when, and how to search adds greatly to the challenge as well as to the productivity of an insect-collecting trip.

During summer, insects are plentiful on flowers and foliage of growing plants, in and around ponds and streams, beneath decaying logs or the bark of dead trees, around bright lights in the evening, and on the ground among grasses and weeds. Some insects come out only at certain times of the day or night, others only at specific times of the year. Some are found only on or near plants upon which they feed.

The bodies of dead animals often attract many unusual insect specimens (e.g., scavenger beetles) that are not likely to be found elsewhere. The same is true of the droppings of livestock, where specialized insects are apt to be found. With a little experience, the collector soon learns where to look for the less common specimens.

During winter, most insects seek shelter and are found in clumps of grass, beneath the loose bark of trees, under stones and logs, or beneath leaves and soil debris. Many burrow into the ground to pass the winter. Although insects are more difficult to find during the winter, searching for them is nonetheless interesting.