Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • Here are links to Science Learning Hub resources for primary teachers related to insects in the Living World strand of the New Zealand Curriculum.

    Investigate insects found in New Zealand to answer questions about life cycles, classification, conservation and biosecurity. Start by watching our webinar All about insects.

    The Super Insects article has all of Countdown’s Super Insect teacher resources available as free downloadables – including an overview poster, 10 activity cards and a cross-curricular activity bonus.

    Native insects

    The islands that make up this country are home to a vast number of species found nowhere else in the world. Learn about some of our native insects.

    What’s so special about insects? – article

    Insect taxonomy – article

    Aquatic insect life – article

    Insects – physical characteristics – article

    Label the insect – activity

    Label the wētā – interactive

    Label the cicada – interactive

    The five most diverse insect orders – interactive

    New Zealand aquatic insects – interactive

    New Zealand's unique ecosystems – introductory article with links to media, articles and activities.

    Glow-worms – article

    Cave wētā – article

    Wētā – article

    Building homes for tree wētā – activity

    Redesigning wētā houses – article

    Vegetable caterpillar – article

    Fred the thread – article

    Science and literacy – using Fred the Thread – activity

    Discovering new species – collection of resources based on Fred the Thread

    Our elusive native butterflies – article

    Middle Earth wasps – article

    Insect antennae – article

    Honeydew ecosystem (scale insects) – article

    Insects and forest ecosystems – article

    Honeydew: The Food of the Ngahere – video

    Constructing food webs (scale insects) – activity

    Insect mihi – activity

    Moth collecting – activity

    Identifying bugs – activity

    Rearing insects – activity

    Make a wanted poster – activity

    City of bugsConnected article

    Life cycles

    Insect life cycles have many similarities and differences, making them an ideal way to learn about life processes.

    New Zealand native butterflies – article

    Monarch butterflies – article

    White butterfly life cycle – activity

    Monarch butterfly life cycle – interactive

    Rearing moths to observe life cycles – activity

    Insect metamorphosis – image

    Glow-worm life cycle – image

    Vegetable caterpillar fungi – video

    Parasitoid wasp life cycle – article


    Honey bee are the most important pollinators of many cultivated food crops and other flowering plants. See our bees topic for more.

    Pollination – introductory article with links to media, articles and activities

    Pollination role-plays – activity

    Honey to heal – introductory article with links to media, articles and activities

    The Buzz of bees – article

    Bees – fun facts – article

    Bee-friendly insecticides – article

    Honey bee heroes – article

    Honeybees and Mānuka trees – article

    People are doing heaps for kauri, kiwi and kākāpō but nothing for endemic butterfly species, yet insects are crucial to the ecosystem.

    Jacqui Knight

    Butterflies and moths

    Almost all of the butterflies in New Zealand are native and most are endemic. Compared to big, colourful species from other countries, our native butterflies are small and secretive. See our butterflies and moths topic for more.

    Investigating butterflies – introductory article with links to media, articles and activities

    Butterfly defense mechanisms – article

    New Zealand butterfly origins – article

    White butterflies – article

    Establishing butterfly transects – activity

    Tagging monarch butterflies for science – activity

    Butterflies (lower primary) – unit plan

    Butterflies (upper primary) – unit plan

    Ahi Pepe MothNet project – introductory article with links to media, articles and activities

    New Zealand moths – article

    Difference between butterflies and moths – article

    Making moth identification guides – article

    Our collection Kaitiakitanga and moths includes information and ideas about the pepe and pūrerehua of Aotearoa as well how children are learning about how to protect these amazing, secretive creatures.

    Innovative ideas

    Insects are used by science to inspire and solve a number of problems.

    Plant & Food Research and Etec Crop Solutions – Pheromone-based-Insecticide – video

    Where we’re controlling insects without the side effects that other control tactics seem to have is a very satisfying thing personally because it’s helping to green New Zealand even further.

    Dr Max Suckling

    Dung beetle mania – article

    Dung beetles released on farms – article

    Biosecurity and biocontrol

    Insects are both an issue and a solution when it comes to protecting New Zealand's natural and primary production environments. For more, browse the range of resources under the biosecurity and biocontrol topics.

    Introduced pests:

    Biocontrol success stories:


    Find out what insects are in your local environment with these activities:

    Global Earth Challenge is an international citizen science project that has a section on monitoring insect population changes.

    More on insects

    Hi tech drones copy nature’s design – article

    New Zealand’s fish-eating spider – article

    Poison comes in small packages – article

    Tree lobsters’ convergent evolution – article

    Deformed bee wing virus – image

    Gum leaf skeletoniser – image

    Wasp versus ant – image

    Useful links

    Visit our Wasps and We love bugs! Pinterest boards for links to more resources and community activities.

      Published 2 July 2015, Updated 22 October 2020 Referencing Hub articles
        Go to full glossary
        Download all