Insect Communication and Harmful Insects




K (5) Properties and Patterns – Organisms, Objects, and Events

a.       : Properties of objects and characteristics of organisms


K (9) Living Organisms – Basic Needs

a.       : Identify basic needs of organisms

b.      : Give examples of how organisms depend on each other



·        Discuss insect communication

·        Discuss insects that may harm humans

·        Ant picnic

·        Make ants on a log

·        Make ant picnic basket necklace

·        The Ants go Marching

·        Read The World of Ants

·        Beehive Observation

·        Bee thumbprint activity

·        Bee Song

·        Collect insect




Film canisters                            Various Scents                         Cotton balls

Celery                                      Peanut butter                            Raisins

Ink pads                                   Construction Paper                   Masking tape

Assorted food to attract ants     plastic soda bottle caps             fabric scraps

Runts candy                              small plastic ants                       pipe cleaners



Book : The World of Ants by Melvin Berger

The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle


Activities :


Activity 1: Insect Communication


Ask students to hypothesize how insects communicate.  “Do they communicate like humans?”  After responses have been given, explain to students that insects communicate by chemicals they excrete called pheromones and some use a special wiggle.  Distribute a film canister to each student that contains a cotton ball with a specific scent on it.  Make sure that there are of 2 of each scent in the class.  The students will smell their own scent and then go around the room to locate a partner.


Activity 2: Insects That May Harm Humans


“Today we are going to talk about ants and bees.  Can anyone tell me what they have in common?”  Discuss how ants and bees can harm us. 


Activity 3: Ant Picnic


Take children outside for this activity.  Ask them to hypothesize (guess) what kind of food ants like.  Tape a white sheet to the ground outside.  Place several types of food on the sheet such as meat, fruits and vegetables, and sweets.  These are to attract ants to the area.  Throughout the day, go outside and check the “picnic” area.  What kinds of foods do the ants like the best?  What other kinds of insects are attracted to the picnic?


Activity 4: Ants on a Log


Now that we have seen the ants at a picnic, let’s have our own little snack of ants!  Cut sticks of celery into three pieces and spread with peanut butter.  Place 3 or 4 raisin “ants” on the log and enjoy!


Activity 5: Ants on a Picnic Basket Necklace


To make the basket, cover the inside of a bottle cap with glue.  Cut a 2 in. square of fabric and tuck it into the basket, print side down.  Glue three fruit-shaped candies in the basket.  Squeeze glue over the tops of the candies and fold the edges of the fabric up and over the candies, tucking the edges between them so that they stick out from the fabric.  Cut a 3 in. piece of pipe cleaner.  Tuck the ends into each side of the basket to form a handle.  Glue a small plastic ant to the handle and another to the basket.  Cut a piece of yarn.  Tie the yarn to the basket handle, then tie the two ends together to make a hanger for the necklace.


Activity 6: The Ants Go Marching


Hold up fingers to count along with children the number of ants as they go through the song.



Activity 7: Read The World of Ants by Melvin Berger


We have a wonderful book about ants to read together. But before we do that, let's talk about what we know about ants so far.  We know that they can bite. What else do you know? Where do you think ants live? Where do people live? Do you think ants talk to each other? Let's read our book now. Maybe we will find out the answers to some of our questions about ants." During the book, guide observations about ant homes and communication.


Activity 8: Beehive Observation


·        Instructor will transition from how bees recognize each other by smelling to where bees live. "Now that we know how bees recognize each other (by smelling), let's think about where they live. Have you ever seen a bee's home? Does anyone remember what the bees' home was called in The Honey Robber and the Bee? It's called a beehive. "

·        Show children an empty beehive with no bees in it. Let them feel how papery it is.

·        "This is what the outside of some beehives look like. What does it feel like?" (Feels papery)

·        "Would you like to see the inside of a beehive? Here in the Museum there is a very special beehive that we can look into without getting stung."

·        Show children a working beehive that they can observe, if one is available. If not, use a book showing bees and beehive activities or view a video, "The Magic School Bus: Buzzes a Hive" about bees.

·        Let children observe the bees for a few minutes to see what they discover on their own. The students will be able to see the bees doing the waggle dance and also be able to see the pollen sacs on the bees' legs. Then point out bees that are communicating with each other.

·        "Look at those bees! Do you see how this one is circling around, and how these other bees have circled all around and are watching him? That is another way that bees talk to each other. They use movements to act out a message. It's called a Waggle Dance. Can you say that? It's a funny word, isn't it?"


Activity 9: Bee Thumbprints


Give children a copy of the beehive handout, with a beehive printed on it. (Or give them a sheet of paper with Honeycomb cereal glued on it.) Children will press their index fingers on an inkpad, and then make several fingerprints across the beehive paper. With a crayon or felt-tipped marker, children can add wings, antennae, and legs to their fingerprint bees, and color their beehive.  They can make one bee at the hive entrance (the guard bee), one bee larger than the rest (the queen bee), and as many worker bees.


Activity 10: The Honey Bee Song


Tune : "Mary had a Little Lamb"

By : Gayle Howard


The honeybee goes, buzz, buzz, buzz

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

The honeybee goes buzz, buzz, buzz

On a summer day…

It's taking pollen to the hive, to the hive, to the hive,

It's taking pollen to the hive,

Not so far away…

The bee makes honey that is sweet, that is sweet, that is sweet,

The bee makes honey that is sweet,

As sweet as sweet can be…

The bee keeps honey in the hive, in the hive, in the hive

The bee keeps honey in the hive,

And shares a bit with me!


Activity 11: Collect an Insect


Allow the children to explore their surroundings outside.  Encourage them to find a different insect today than they have before!


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