Note: Today we have a great post by a guest blogger. Ellen Fordham is a Middle School Student at Quarry Lane in Dublin, CA. Ellen did a Headwaters program in October and wrote the blog post below. Check out Ellen’s research project: A Bug’s Life. Look for more posts from us and student’s about the Quarry Lane trip.
When I first arrived at Headwaters Science Institute, all the annoying insects flying around me bothered me. I wondered if it was the food I had in my bag or the colors I was wearing that attracted them. When it came time to plan a topic for my own field research, I was interested in finding out what insects are most attracted to. We had studied the meadow and the forest in our first day and a half. So my group hiked to the meadow for our bug project, since we knew that there were more insects and hornets there than in the forest. We laid out T-shirts of different colors and put sticky traps on them. We also put different foods and smells on sticky traps. On an hourly basis, we recorded the number of insects on each sticky trap. While doing this experiment, we also did some background research. I learned that insects don’t have a nose and that they rely on their olfactory sensilla to smell. I learned that they are mainly color blind and can only see a few colors, but they can see some colors that we can’t see, like ultra violet. I also learned that they see things in pixels. It was a great experience designing and conducting an experiment on a question I was truly interested in. Now I know that if you don’t want insects surrounding you, you shouldn’t wear bright colors, like yellow and orange, and shouldn’t pack meat as a lunch! I would love to go back to Headwaters again and do some more research. I now want to find out why there are more insects in the meadow than in the forest.