Science project

Creatures That Bug Us

Difficulty Level


Safety Issues
  • Adult supervision recommended when interviewing people or searching the net.
  • Treat all animals with the greatest possible care and respect.
Project Time Frame

2-4 weeks


This project takes an unbiased look at cockroaches, termites, and other insects we wish to be rid of.

Project Goals
  • To discover and outline the benefits of annoying bugs.
  • To further encourage the ethical treatment of animals.

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Bug samples
  • Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)


Insects are invertebrate creatures, categorized in the biological class known as Insecta.  Butterflies and ladybugs are popular.  Cockroaches and termites are not.  Obviously, humans react to different insects in different ways.  Some of these feelings are based on common sense, like when you fear a bee might sting you.  Other times, the reasoning is somewhat more elusive.  This project addresses our bug biases.

Research Questions
  • What’s the difference between an insect and a bug?
  • What are the major insect groups (orders)?
  • Is a spider an insect, a bug, or something else?
  • What makes some insects or bugs more likable than others?
  • Do harmful insects (like termites) serve any useful purpose?
  • Are cockroaches harmful?  How about tarantulas?
  • Which insects make the best pets?
  • What are the ways in which various insects are useful?
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research
  • Insect / Bug (know the difference)
  • Entomology
  • Taxonomy

Experimental Procedure

  1. Research related materials (see bibliography below)
  2. Determine and explain why some people are afraid of certain insects.
  3. Search, print and label photos of insects you find interesting.
  4. Identify each photo and specimen.  
  5. Categorize the order of each specimen in the insect kingdom.
  6. List the ways in which each insect benefits us, and the ways in which each can be harmful.
  7. Write a detailed report.
  8. Include insect specimens in your science fair display.

Bibliography (Kids’ page all about bugs) Wiki topics: Insect, Cockroach, Termite and Spider.

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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