How to Make a Bug Terrarium

Can't afford fish at the pet store? Got an old aquarium but no fish? No problem! You can make your own bug terrarium and care for insects to see what they do. Who knows? You could have fun!


  1. Image titled GetJar Step 1 1
    Get a used glass aquarium and fill it with garden soil until about one quarter of the aquarium is full. If you don't have an aquarium, use a large jar or shoe box.
  2. Image titled LookforBugs Step 2
    Look for bugs. Go to an area with dirt and dig a hole with a shovel. Keep looking through the soil for underground bugs. You will most likely find earthworms, especially after it has rained. Put the worms in the aquarium.
  3. Image titled FoundBugs Step 3
    Now that you have worms and possibly some other bugs you found in the soil, look for bugs in other places. Scan the outside walls of your house and tree trunks. You may also find insects crawling on any surface of the ground. Bugs are everywhere, you just have to look. Pill bugs, beetles, ants, millipedes, and mantis will work fine.
  4. Image titled PlaceBug Step 4
    Place the bugs in the soil. Let them explore a little once they're in.
  5. Image titled Decorate Step 5 4
    Decorate! You don't want a boring terrarium, do you? Neither do the bugs! Add some colorful rocks, leaves, and twigs. Add shady spots by putting in small tree branches or building a nest out of plants and sticks.
  6. Image titled FoodWater Step 6
    Make sure the bugs have food and water. If you only have worms, the soil is their food. Add some food scraps like banana peels, egg shells, and apples. This way the worms will have something to decompose and turn into compost. Leaves, plants, and wood should feed other bugs. Try to get leaves from the plants where you found the bugs. Make sure they have enough water too, moisten the soil and add a water dish.Another good way to give them water is to soak a small crumpled up paper towel or cotton ball in water and put it in.
  7. Image titled MakeSign Step 7
    Add a sign on the terrarium saying something like "Bugville" or "Insect Paradise" if you want.
  8. Image titled HaveFan Step 8
    Have fun! Take care of the insects and check on them now and again. You can keep them outside in your backyard or inside in your bedroom, it's your choice. Always ensure they have plenty of food and water.
  9. Image titled BugTerrarium Intro


  • Do NOT put orange or other citrus peelings in the aquarium as worms could possibly die, however if you have other bugs in it it should be fine.


  • Avoid putting bugs together that can harm each other. For example, if you put in daddy-long-legs spiders, you might not want to place ants and small bugs in your aquarium unless you want them to be eaten.
  • If you use the soaked cotton ball method, you must remember to moisten it almost every day.
  • DO NOT choose any bugs that are poisonous or that can bite. It's best to avoid spiders, centipedes, fire ants, and carpenter ants (large black ants).
  • Do NOT put orange or other citrus peels as it may harm worms
  • In some places, some bugs are illegal to keep as pets. For example, praying mantises are often illegal to capture and keep. Be sure that the bugs you are keeping in your terrarium are not protected by law first.
  • Remember to clean your tank or jar at least once a week and change the water if using bottle cap or whatever your using

Things You'll Need

  • Glass Aquarium
  • Soil
  • Plant matter
  • Water
  • Shovel

Article Info

Categories: Bugs