4-H Virtual Recess: Don't Bug Me! The Experiment


Kids can perform this experiment to learn what attracts critters and how to protect themselves from bug bites.


  • Four brightly colored pieces of cloth or paper: bright pink, red, yellow and orange
  • Three dull pieces of cloth or paper: tan, grey and black
  • Perfume, cologne or aftershave
  • An open can of (non-diet) soda
  • An unopened can of soda

Activity Steps:

  1. First, test the bugs’ attraction to colored paper or cloth. Take the colored paper or cloth pieces outside and place in a sunny spot about a foot apart. Sit 5 feet away for 1-2 hours and record how many stinging insects visit each color. Rank the colors in order from most visited to least visited.
  2. Now, test the bugs’ attraction to sweet-smelling things. Set out two pieces of the same colored paper or cloth and spray one piece with perfume. Sit 5 feet away and record how many insects visit each piece.
  3. Finally, repeat these steps with an open can and unopened can of soda. Set both cans outside about a foot apart. Watch for 1-2 hours and record which one the bugs like more.
  4. Review your data! What surprised you the most? Based off what you’ve learned, think about what clothing you should wear outside to avoid bug bites. What happens if you wear sweet scents or leave sugary food or drinks outside? What other things might attract insects?

Get the full activity at 4-H.org/DontBugMe

From the 4-H Healthy Living Activity Guide

3/23/2020 3:16:44 PM
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