The Insect Study merit badge makes a good elective for Boy Scouts who enjoy watching butterflies and observing tiny creatures on the ground.
In earning the Insect Study merit badge, Scouts will glance into the strange and fascinating world of the insect. There, they will meet tiny creatures with tremendous strength and speed, see insects that undergo startling changes in habits and form as they grow, and learn how insects see, hear, taste, smell, and feel the world around them.
Insect Study Merit Badge Requirements
- Tell how insects are different from all other animals. Show how insects are different from centipedes and spiders.
- Point out and name the main parts of an insect.
- Describe the characteristics that distinguish the principal families and orders of insects.
- Do the following:
- Observe 20 different live species of insects in their habitat. In your observations, include at least four orders of insects.
- Make a scrapbook of the 20 insects you observed in 4a. Include photographs, sketches, illustrations, and articles. Label each insect with its common and scientific names, where possible. Share your scrapbook with your counselor.
- Do the following:
- From your scrapbook collection, identify three species of insects helpful to humans and five species of insects harmful to humans.
- Describe some general methods of insect control.
- Compare the life histories of a butterfly and a grasshopper. Tell how they are different.
- Raise an insect through complete metamorphosis from its larval stage to its adult stage (e.g., raise a butterfly or moth from a caterpillar).*
- Observe an ant colony or a beehive. Tell what you saw.
- Tell things that make social insects different from solitary insects.
- Tell how insects fit in the food chains of other insects, fish, birds, and mammals.
- Find out about three career opportunities in insect study. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
* Some insects are endangered species and are protected by federal or state law. Every species is found only in its own special type of habitat. Be sure to check natural resources authorities in advance to be sure that you will not be collecting any species that is known to be protected or endangered, or in any habitat where collecting is prohibited. In most cases, all specimens should be returned to the location of capture after the requirement has been met. Check with your merit badge counselor for those instances where the return of these specimens would not be appropriate.