Are you studying or teaching Senior Biology in Queensland?

Then consider using insects for your EEI!


Why use insects for your EEI?

  • They are fascinating to research!

  • No animal ethics clearance is needed

  • They are easy to collect from your backyard.

  • They can be ordered and delivered to you

  • You can keep them at home.

  • There are plenty to observe in the field.

  • Many breed fast and easily.

  • You can conduct great animal behaviour experiments.

  • Available practically anywhere!

Suggested Insects

Grasshoppers Flies Ladybeetles Aphids Silverfish
Praying Mantis Ants Beetles Cockroaches Dragonflies
Stick insects Crickets Fleas Cicadas Butterflies
Moths * The eggs, larvae or nymphs of any of these.


Collecting or Ordering Insects

Insects can be collected from any private property as long as you have the permission of the owner of that property, so that means you can collect from your backyard, your friend's backyards, your school yard. Queensland Museum has plenty of info on how to collect (and indentify) insects yourself.

Insects can be ordered and delivered to your door from the following suppliers:

Minibeast Wildlife has a huge range of live insects that you can order!

Bugs for Bugs is a company that primarily supplies insects for Biological Control for crop growers, however, any member of the general public can order insects from them, the only limitation is a minimum purchase of 3 punnets per order. Click on the link provided for insects available and ordering information.

The Australian Insect Farm supplies insects for pets or classroom use. They offer a wide array of beetles, grubs and stick insects. Click on the link and see the catalogue for pricing and ordering details.

Mount Glorious Butterflies supplies an array of stick insects and butterflies. Click on the link for ordering information.

Butterfly Encounters supplies butterflies.

NOTE: You can not collect insects from National Parks or any Queensland Government managed properties as permits are only given for research conducted by adults.

If you want to collect from a local park, you need to contact your local council for permits.

Keeping insects at home or at school

Queensland Museum has detailed information for keeping live insects.

Order a copy of the great book Bugs Alive - A guide to keeping Australian Invertebrates for lots of detailed information

Project Ideas

The following are stimuli to get you thinking:

  1. Does your focal species prefer to be active under particular lighting conditions?  Light verses dark? Light Intensity? Colour of Light?
  2. Does exposure of light have an effect on: Larval orientation? Hatch rates? Feeding behaviour? Navigation?
  3. How does temperature affect your focal species? Behaviour? Speed? Development? Egg hatching rates?Oxygen consumption? Survival rates?
  4. What is the effect of oxygen or carbon dioxide levels on: Feeding rates? Movement?
  5. Does your focal species exhibit learning behaviour? Colour/pattern recognition? Mazes to food?
  6. What is your focal species feeding behaviour? Food preferences? Feeding times? Food amounts? Factors affecting?
  7. How does your focal species socialise? Grouping? Predator-prey? Competition?
  8. What is your focal species reproductive behaviour?
  9. Does your species have preferred humidity levels?
  10. What are the population densities of insects in leaf litter? How does this compare in the shade verses the sun?
  11. How can insects be used as environmental indicators and monitoring on death and decomposition?
  12. What are the factors that affect metamorphosis?
  13. What parasites exist within insects?
  14. Does your focal species have a particular leaf preference? Flower preference?
  15. Do mosquitoios exhibit a preference for different types of containers, depth of water or age of water, shading or temperature of water?

Just remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!!

Literature Search

Research papers on the above topics or species can be found using Google Scholar or by using your school's access to Biological data bases.

Safety Issues

Bee, wasp and ant bites are potentially lethal in patients with allergy to the venom, we do not recommend using these species.

Do not handle hairy caterpillars, they have stinging hairs which are best avoided.

Endangered and Vulnerable species

Do not collect or experiment on the following species which are deemed threatened in Queensland:

Use googe images to determine that your butterfly or moth species is not one of these:

Phyllodes imperialis  — a moth 
Argyreus hyperbius inconstans - Australian fritillary butterfly
Hypochrysops piceata - Bull oak jewel butterfly
Hypochrysops apollo Apollo - Apollo jewel butterfly
Nacaduba pactolus cela - Bold blue-line butterfly
Acrodipsas illidgei - Illidge’s ant-blue butterfly
Jalmenus evagoras eubulus - Imperial hairstreak (northern subspecies)
Ornithoptera richmondia - Richmond birdwing butterfly

Animal Ethics Information

Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 7th edition 2004 covers all non-human vertebrates and higher order invertebrates, thus does not include insects.

Insects are not currently classified as “animal’ under the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

STAY TUNED: Using insects for school Biology in other states coming soon!