Pollinator bug hunt

Activity

Look for the insects that visit flowers and observe them taking pollen from flower to flower.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Understand the role of insects in transferring pollen from flower to flower
  • Observe the insects that visit flowers
  • Consider how flower shape and colour attracts pollinators

Essential background information

Preparation

Print out RHS Pollinating Insects Spotter Sheet.
This activity is best done on a sunny calm day, so check the weather forecast.

Equipment needed

  • Access to garden with flowers or bring in some pots of flowers
  • Camera/ Tablet device (for recording) 
  • Pencils, paper, clipboards
  • Insect identification charts 
  • (RHS Pollinating Insects spotter chart- see link)
  • Magnifying glass to look closer at insects
  • Collection box if possible to catch the insects

Step by step

Background Information

Many flowers rely on insects to visit their flowers to carry pollen away and to bring pollen to their flowers. This is known as pollination and is essential for the formation of fruits and seeds.  Flowers have evolved to attract pollinating insects, providing nectar as a reward. Pollen and nectar is a food source for insect larvae. Flower colour, shape and scent may also play its part in attracting pollinating insects. Different insects are seen on contrasting flowers.
 

  1. Explain to the pupils how insects visit flowers to gather food for their young in the form of pollen and nectar.
  2. Look out for insects visiting the flowers and identify the insects from the spotter sheet.
  3. Draw them and/ or take photographs of them on the flower.
  4. Move onto contrasting flower shapes or colours and note the insects that visit these flowers. Is there a marked difference?

Hints & tips

  • Look for the saddle bags of pollen on bees’ legs!
  • Look out for nectar guides on the flowers
  • Use this activity as part of the Focus on Fruit and Flower Power class growing topics

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