Did you know that bugs see differently from humans?

Insect Larva (baby bugs) have “simple eyes.” They can only tell the difference between light and dark and can’t see any color. Adult Insects have “compound eyes” and are able to see color. Insects cannot see low frequency colors like red, but they can see high frequency colors called ultraviolet light that humans can’t see. (Ultraviolet light looks kind of like glow in the dark paint.) This helps bees see brightly colored patterns on flowers and makes bright patterns show up on butterfly wings that would look dark and dull to humans.

Here’s an example of how differently humans and insects see the colors on a flower:

What Humans see What insects see (ultra violet light)

Other insects, like flies, have eyes that are made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny little lens’s which allow them to see a larger space around them and detect even the slightest movement!

Fly's Eye

Here’s a fun project to let you explore the world through your very own binoculars. If you want to see what bug vision looks like, there is an extra step to turn your binoculars into bug-noculars!

What You Need


2 Empty toilet paper rolls or 1 empty paper towel roll cut into 2 smaller tubes (Don't have these? Don't worry!) You can tape construction paper together to make your own tubes.)

2. Scissors

3. Hole Punch (If you don't have this, you can ask an adult to poke holes for you with scissors!)

4. Clue

5. Tape

6. About 2 feet of yarn or string

7. An empty clear plastic bottle you can cut up

8. Blue Sharpe Marker

What You Do  
 1. Glue the two toilet paper rolls together parallel to each other. Let dry for a few minutes.  step1.jpg

2. Punch holes in the upper right and left sides of the binoculars

3. Feed the yarn or string through the two holes and tie the two ends together.  Make sure teh string is long enough to fit around your neck step3.jpg
4. Write your name on your binoculars and decorate them any way you want step4.jpg
5. Trace two circles onto the clear plastic bottle using the ends of your binoculars to measure size and shape step51.jpg
6. Cut the two circles out with scissors (you may need an adult to help you). step52.jpg
7. Color the plastic circles with teh blue sharppe marker for bee-vission or draw lines going up and down across the circles using the sharpe marker for fly-vision step53.jpg
8. Tape the circles over the ends of your binoculars and presto!  You have bug vision! step54.jpg

Now that we have created our binoculars and bug-noculars, it’s time to go outside and explore the world around us!

See what colors, shapes, textures, living and non-living things you notice.

Do they look differently through the eyes of an insect?

Resources Insect vision facts: http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/insect-color-vision/ Flower pictures: http://www.naturfotograf.com/UV_PETA_HYB.html#top Fly eye picture: www.medgadget.com/archives/img/kidney_fly_sm.jpg

mary-01.jpgCrusher's Crafts are created by SPREE staffer Mary Palumbo.  Each month Mary comes up with a new craft that can be made from household items and found objects from just outside your front door.


Look on the left column for a complete list of all the crafts!