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Compendium Spot ID Tutorials Labs Glossary NC Pests

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Module 5

Module 6

Module 7

Module 8

Module 9

Module 10

Farm Field Trip

In this lab you will observe and collect insects found in various locations around a farm.   



The main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1. learn where to look for insects and how to collect them safely
  2. recognize the economic importance of pests and beneficial insects  



You will need the following materials for this lab:



For your fourth field trip and insect collecting expedition, visit a farm or ranch where you can look for insects in agricultural fields, on domestic animals, around barns, in grain bins, and in sewage lagoons.  If it is not possible to visit a farm, look for agricultural pests in local vegetable gardens, comb for fleas on a pet dog or cat, investigate road kill for saprophytes, and look for seed feeders inside acorns or ears of late season sweet corn.  You may also find interesting insects by making pitfall traps, digging into compost piles, or collecting around lights at night.
Your farm field trip is a good opportunity to collect insects in the following ecological categories:



1.  Prepare

Take along plenty of collecting jars for this trip.  Many of the insects you will find on the farm are immatures and must go into alcohol or Kahle's solution.

2.  Collect

Visit corn fields, cotton fields, soybean fields, alfalfa fields, etc. – they’re all “Home Sweet Home” for insects.  Look inside corn stalks for European corn borers and inside the ears for corn earworms.  In cotton fields you may be able to find armyworms or bollworms.  Use a sweep net in an alfalfa field and you may find aphids, treehoppers, parasitic wasps, lady beetles, and caterpillars of the alfalfa butterfly, green cloverworm, or soybean looper.

Look for insects in and around manure.  Turn over cow pies, poke around in the chicken litter, and then hold your nose and go “fishing” in the sewage lagoon with a long-handled dipper!

Stored products provide unlimited food for some insects.  Look around corn cribs, grain bins, and silos for meal moths and grain beetles. 

Don’t forget about the flies!  Horse flies, deer flies, stable flies, and mosquitoes are all blood suckers – they qualify as vertebrate parasites.  House flies, face flies, horn flies, and blow flies aren’t parasites but they still qualify as important agricultural pests.

3.  Preserve and Pin

Be sure to put a date/locality label on every specimen, using the format described in the collection instructions.  Keep good notes to help you remember which insects fulfill ecological categories.  You will add Ecology labels later after you have identified the specimen.

Wash your hands thoroughly after this field trip!