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No. 31 Make friends with a bug

Two children get up close and peer into a large insect hotel covered with ivy.
Children peer into a bug hotel at Fyne Court, Somerset | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Ladybirds, spiders, caterpillars, woodlice – there are all kinds of minibeasts hiding at the places we look after. Make friends with a bug is no. 31 on our list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’.

Searching for bugs

You can find all sorts of creatures lurking in your garden, or at our places, or anywhere outdoors really. You'll need to be prepared though: looking for bugs is fun, but you might need to be fast. Some creatures like centipedes and millipedes move quickly (it must be all those feet!), so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled like a real nature detective if you want to see them.

Where to look?

Great spots for searching include under stones and wood, the branches, bark and leaves of trees and in long grass. You'll often find things hiding out in these locations.

Making friends

Once you've found your bugs, remember that you're a giant compared to them, so be gentle with any that you choose to pick up as they'll probably be scared of you. It's best if you choose something to hold that's relatively small and that's not going to sting or bite you – so no wasps, bees or snakes.

Children playing at Foxbury in the summer, Bramshaw Commons and Foxbury, Hampshire
Children searching for bugs at Foxbury | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Let them go

All bugs appreciate being returned to their homes after you've looked at them – just like you'll want to go home at the end of your bug-friending adventure.

Learn more

If you get seriously interested in learning about bugs, insects and where they live, you can buy all sorts of bug hunting equipment like magnifying glasses, little viewing pots with lids and sheets to see bugs that you shake out from trees, but you don't really need anything except your eyes and your initiative for this challenge.

There are over 20,000 types of insects in the UK, so who knows what you'll discover?

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