Calling All Bug Lovers! DIY Bug Vacuum for Your Creepy-Crawling Loving Kids

Calling all bug lovers! If your kids love to pick up all the crawling bugs, or even just look at them, they might love this activity and YOU might love that it keeps them occupied for so long. 

What is it? A bug aspirator. You heard that right; just like a nasal aspirator, but you suck up little crawling bugs with it. Your kids might understand bug vacuum better. 

What you’ll need:

  • A container that you can see through and has a lid
  • A power drill
  • Aquarium tubing
  • Gauze
  • Tape
  • Modeling clay


  1. Drill two holes in the lid of the container. 3/16″ is the size of the tubing you’ll use, so if you have this size of drill bit, use that. 
  2. Cut two pieces of tubing about 6″ long or more. There’s always plenty of tubing left over if you mess up and need to cut more. 
  3. Stick tubing through the holes you made in the lid.
  4. Cover one of the tubes with gauze, just underneath the lid and tape it around the tubing. The gauze keeps any bugs from going in your mouth – same idea as the nasal aspirator.
  5. Seal both tubes with modeling clay, just underneath the lid. That will keep them in place and seal any air pockets between the tubing and the lid. 
  6. This is the best step. Start vacuuming up bugs! Don’t try to do this with flying insects. It’s hard to catch flying insects and you don’t want to irritate ones that could sting you. The best bugs to catch are ants, rolly-pollies, aphids, earwigs, little beetles, spider mites, and other small harmless crawling insects.

I made these for a kids gardening camp one year, ages 7-12, and it entertained them for hours. I hope it can do the same for yours and it buys you a few moments of peace. And of course, if you ever have any questions about bugs, I’m a horticulturist by trade and would be happy to help!

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Growing up in Devils Den State Park, Arkansas has certainly influenced my career choice. I'm an Extension Horticulture Educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service via Oklahoma State University. I have 3 little children and a kind-hearted husband that stays at home with them while I work (more than) full time. We love quality time together, whether it be going to church, hanging out with cousins, checking our plants in the garden, or anything else. We love to travel and hope to bring our kids on our international adventures in the distant future.


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