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Insect Collection Contest - 2023

It’s time to get collecting!! Start an insect collection and have it judged for Hokie BugFest on October 7, 2023. The festival will occur in person this year at Squires Student Center from 10am-3pm. A collection drop-off site will be announced soon.

Collect as many insects as you can, identify them as accurately as possible, pin them carefully, and arrange them in a display box. Each collection should have a total of 50 specimens. Double-check your identifications with

Who Can Enter?

  • Junior Collectors: Ages 8 to 13
  • Senior Collectors: Ages 14 to 18

Any individual, team, or group is eligible. Group or team entries are encouraged. Individuals within groups can contribute their best specimens to the collections, which is judged as a team entry. Entries should include the name of the individual/team/group, the county, and the contact person for that group (with phone number and email address).


Collections will be awarded first, second, and third place in each age category based on the scoring guidelines. The top collection will be awarded “Best in Show” and will receive a grand prize. All participants and their collections will receive recognition!!

Suggested supplies:

Foam, pins, magnifying glass, and killing jar (a mason jar with a paper towel and a little nail polish remover works well). Make sure to pin insects from your kill jar right away or store them in the freezer until you are ready to pin them.  See the 4-H activity book “Adventures  with Insects” for tips on finding, collecting, and pinning insects.


Good places to collect:

  • State and local parks
  • Hiking trails
  • Around ponds and lakes
  • Local gardens and fields
  • Forests
  • Agricultural and livestock fields
  • Outside YOUR house!
  • You will have to GET OUTSIDE!!!


WARNING: Be careful collecting insects such as wasps, bees, velvet ants, and Asian needle ants that may sting or bite. Do not go on private land without the owner’s permission. Ask your parents or guardians before going bug hunting, and be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders such as black widows. If you have known allergies to bees or other insects, this contest may not be for you. Have fun and be safe!

Full Guidelines

  • Fill out the attached entry form and email it to by September 15, 2023. Information about drop-off / pick-up times and judging will be announced on closer to the event. Any collection that is not picked up after the event will be donated to the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech.

If you plan to enter the 4-H Insect Collection Contest, please email your entry form directly to me no later than Friday, September 15, 2023.

Entry Form

This year, we have partnered with the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library - Blacksburg Branch to serve as a drop-off location for insect collections. Please drop-off your collection to the Blacksburg Branch during the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, September 28th, 9am - 7:30pm
  • Friday, September 29th, 10am - 4:30pm
  • Saturday, September 30th, 10am - 4:30pm
  • Sunday, October 1st, 1pm - 4:30pm
  • Monday, October 2nd, 9am - 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 3th, 9am - 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 4th, 9am - 7:30pm
  • Thursday, October 5th, 9am - 7:30pm

All collections will be transported by our staff to Squires Student Center to be displayed at Hokie BugFest on October 7th. Collections will be judged prior to the event, and ribbons will denote award winning collections. Collections and prizes may be picked up from Hokie BugFest on Saturday, October 7th from 2pm - 4pm. Any collection that is not picked up after the event will be donated to the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech.