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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Insect Mosquito

 Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Mosquito Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Archive Post: Mosquitoes

I have been so annoyed with mosquitoes lately, both in the daylight and in the evenings. Perhaps it is because I am spending a lot of time outdoors in my garden and on the hiking trail. It seems as if I have a mosquito bite at all times (thank goodness for tea tree oil!).

This week, use the Outdoor Hour Challenge for mosquitoes to learn more about this flying winged insect using both the Handbook of Nature Study and the Discover Nature At Sundown books if you own them.

This challenge was originally shared in the Summer Nature Study ebook. If you have an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study website, you will find this ebook in your library. You can pull the ebook up and find the corresponding notebook page for the challenge.

If you would like all the Summer Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. Here is a link to a complete description:
Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges
Summer Nature Study Ebook Outdoor Hour Challenge

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy



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Evening Walk – No Mosquitoes

We set out to look for and observe some mosquitoes (as part of the OHC Mosquito nature study) a couple of evenings this week with no luck. I know…sad to NOT observe any mosquitoes which is a weird thing to say. We even sat by the little slow moving stream where we thought for sure we would find some mosquitoes but there wasn’t a single mosquito to be seen.

Instead, we decided to look at all of the interesting things we could find along the trail and here are a few of our images.

Deer at sunset

The deer are all coming in close to town because of the drought. This one was peacefully grazing along the trail in a meadow.

Queen annes lace june 2014 (3)

The Queen Anne’s Lace is blooming all over the place…not very tall this year but lots of flowers to enjoy.

Queen annes lace june 2014 (2

There are Sweet peas blossoming as well…seen slightly in the background of this image.

Queen annes lace june 2014 (1)

Here is a side view of the Queen Anne’s Lace…so very interesting!

toyan berry (3)

The Toyan berry is blossoming right now…this will be covered in red berries come the late fall.

manzanita (2)

The Manzanita is developing berries…I love the way they look.

Pond water with Fish @handbookofnaturestudy

I have the privilege of taking care of two little boys this summer…a little each week. We are going to be doing some of the Outdoor Hour Challenges together since they are avid outdoor kids and love anything that creeps, hops, and slithers. I took over some pond water for them and along with the water I also got four little fish in the jar. These boys spent some time finding a little aquarium, cleaning it up and watching the fish. I was not successful in capturing some mosquito larvae like I had hoped but the boys still had a blast with the little fish. It is going to be a fun nature study summer with them.

We have been spending lots of time outdoors in the evenings so maybe we will eventually see some mosquitoes.



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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Mosquitoes

Summer Mosquito Study @handbookofnaturestudy
Outdoor Hour Challenge: Mosquitoes

“There is no better way to interest the pupils in mosquitoes than to place in an aquarium jar in the schoolroom a family of wrigglers from some pond or rain barrel.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 414

You can find the original challenge from the Summer Series 2010 here: Summer Series #1 The World of Smell and Mosquitoes. If you have access to the ebook, you will find the Mosquito Study notebook page to use along with your observations.

Make sure to note that in the Follow-Up section of the challenge on the blog there is a link to a set of mosquito themed notebooking pages that you can download and print from the (Thanks Jimmie!)

Don’t forget there is a Nature Journal Topper in this month’s newsletter that can be used to create a simple nature study experience related to the study of mosquitoes. (Note the newsletter is available to all subscribers and to those that are Ultimate or Journey level members.)

Mosquito coloring page @handbookofnaturestudy

Extra Activity: Mosquito Coloring Page

Print out this mosquito coloring page for your nature journal. Or you can use this line drawing as a model for your own nature journal drawing.

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #8. Take a few minutes to go through this challenge and then take a close look at any insect (dead or alive) that you have on hand using a magnifying lens. Make sure to record your observations using the notebook provided in the ebook. 

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Insects – Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

Field Guides I have Used With My Family

Please note the above links are Amazon affiliate links to books I own and love!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Insect Nature Study Challenges Index @handbookofnaturestudy
NOTE: If the challenge is included an ebook, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have an Ultimate Membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

Ants – Spring ebook



Black Swallowtail – Spring Nature Study Continues


Caddisfly and Caddis worm – Summer Nature Study Continues

Cockroach – Autumn 2015

Crickets – Summer ebook and another cricket study

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Fireflies – Summer ebook

Gall Dwellers – More Nature Study Winter

Grasshoppers – Summer ebook


Insect Printables

Insect Study with Bug’s Eye View Printable

Katydids – Summer ebook

Lacewing – Summer Nature Study Continues coming soon


Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers – More Nature Study Autumn

Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer

Moths – Summer ebook and another moth study

Mosquitoes – Summer ebook

Mud Daubers – More Nature Study Summer

Winter Insects – Winter Wednesday ebook

Yellow Jackets – More Nature Study Summer

Newsletters With a Insect Theme (If you have a membership, you have access to all archived newsletters.)
  • September 2012 – Insect study grid. Ant study. Lesson plans for insect and spider study.
  • April 2014 – Making a bug hotel.
  • June 2016 – Insect Wing Study notebook page. Insect nature study and nature journal ideas.
  • September 2016 – Insect home study ideas. Gall dweller nature study. Insect study grid. Insect coloring page.

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More Links: Firefly Watch and Mosquitoes

Tricia shared a link that relates to the Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges. Thanks Tricia!

Firefly Watch

Here is another opportunity to participate in a nature study related science project. Easy and fun…too bad we don’t have fireflies here to observe. 🙁

Lisa shared this link to some macro photos of mosquitoes being hatched:
Mosquitoes Emerging


Enjoy the links.

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OHC Summer Series #1: Mosquitoes and World of Smell


Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Mosquito Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenges

Summer Series #1 Mosquitoes and World of Smell

Train Your Senses

  • Sight: Begin to learn how long it takes for your eyes to adjust as the evening gets darker. Use your sense of sight to observe mosquitoes or mosquito larvae. Can you observe any birds or bats eating mosquitoes?
  • Smell: Sit quietly in your yard, perhaps at different times of day, observing any smells of summer that you can recognize. Can you smell more at night when your other senses are not as useful? Can you smell more on a damp night or a dry night? Does a certain smell bring back a memory?
  • Hearing: Can you hear any mosquitoes or other insects buzzing?

Inside Preparation Work:
1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 411-415 on mosquitoes. Pay special attention to page 414 where there is a list of places that mosquito larvae can be found. Read through Lesson 105 to equip yourself for your mosquito study.
2. Read in Discover Nature at Sundown pages 14-26. This section will give you some general information about how humans and other living creatures use their sense of smell. We will study several of these living things as part of this series of challenge: moths, evening primroses, mosquitoes, frogs, and bats.

Outdoor Hour Time:
1. This week spend your 15 minutes outdoors at sundown. As you start your Summer Series of Challenges, try to establish a routine of going outdoors in the evening to spend some time observing your backyard or neighborhood as the light fades. Use the suggests above to use your senses during your outdoor time. After reading in Discover Nature At Sundown, you will have some ideas for night-blooming flowers to look for and to smell. Also the book suggests observing sounds on a damp night and a dry night and comparing your results.

2. Also, as part of this challenge, you can try to collect some live mosquito larvae. Here are some instructions:

  • Look in a pond, along a stream, in a rain barrel or any where else you can find some standing water.
  • Collect a jar full of water to bring home to observe. Scoop the water rapidly and hopefully you will get some larvae or pupae.
  • The Handbook of Nature Study suggests putting the jar on your desk to observe the “wigglers”. Use the suggestions from Lesson 105 to study your mosquitoes. Here is a link to a webpage that has more information about mosquitoes: How Stuff Works: Mosquitoes

Follow-Up Activity:
1. There is a notebook activity included with this challenge is to keep track of all the smells of summer that you find over the next few weeks. As a new smell comes to your attention, make sure to write it down in your journal. There is set of free mosquito notebook pages available over on

2. If you were successful in collecting and then observing mosquito larvae, record your thoughts in your nature journal or on the notebook page provided in the Summer Series ebook. If you did not find any mosquito larvae, you can record the things you learned about mosquitoes instead.

If you would like all the Summer Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. Here is a link to a complete description:
Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges
Summer 2010 Nature Study Final

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Mosquito Eater, Or Is It?

Mosquito Eater or Crane Fly
Okay so we usually call these guys “mosquito eaters”. It is actually a crane fly or scientific name: Tipula paludosa.

They look like giant mosquitoes and this one found its way into my son’s workshop. He sat very still while I took a few photos and then with the magic of cropping, it really shows what he looks like.

This is from Wikipedia:
Numerous other common names have been applied to the crane fly, many of them more or less regional, including, mosquito hawks, mosquito eaters (or skeeter eaters), gallinippers, gollywhoppers, and jimmy spinners.”

I was visiting my dad last week and we had a conversation that went something like this:
“Dad, you know those bugs we call mosquito eaters?”
“Well, I just learned that they are actually called crane flies.”
“You know those big flying bugs we see in the house, they are really big flies and they don’t eat mosquitoes at all.”
“Mosquito eaters, they are mosquito eaters.”

Oh well, he can call them mosquito eaters. 🙂

More information from UC Davis’ website:
“Adult crane flies emerge from the soil beneath turfgrass, pastures and other grassy areas in late summer and fall. The adults have very long legs and resemble large mosquitoes. Females mate and lay eggs in grass within 24 hours of emerging. Eggs hatch into small, brown, wormlike larvae that have very tough skin and are commonly referred to as “leatherjackets”. The leatherjackets feed on the roots and crowns of clover and grass plants during the fall. They spend the winter as larvae in the soil; when the weather warms in spring, they resume feeding. During the day larvae mostly stay underground, but on damp, warm nights they come to the surface to feed on the above ground parts of many plants. When mature, the larvae are about 1 to 1-1/2 inch long. Around mid-May they enter a nonfeeding pupal stage and remain just below the soil surface. In late summer, pupae wriggle to the surface and the adults emerge. There is one generation a year.”

More Nature Study #4 Cover image