OSB archive
OSB archive

Bug hunters on a quest

Pete Wilton

Are there spiders in the store room? How about woodlice in the hall? And did anyone see beetles in the headteacher's office?

Pupils around Oxfordshire are looking into these and other questions as part of Bug Quest 2009, a six-month research project to survey invertebrate biodiversity across the county.

It's the the third time that the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) has staged a Bug Quest event and this time the emphasis is on pupils doing more of the research themselves: placing insect traps in locations around their schools, uploading data on the types of insects captured to the Bug Quest website as well as photos of any puzzling or unusual invertebrates.

The project began in January and at the latest count around half of the 42 schools taking part have entered their first batch of results with Sunningwell Cof E Primary School and Checkendon Cof E Primary School achieving the coveted accolade of buggiest schools in January!

Those taking part receive regular updates from Colin A Cricket with information on the Bug of the Month: March is officially Beetle Month [Colin tell us that the UK's largest insect is the Stag Beetle].

Bug Quest runs until June with bug identication sessions for teachers and a special morning reception on 14 July where pupils can bring along homemade bug models and the prize for this year's buggiest school will be awarded.