Bug Hunt

Our Work  |  Insects


Join the Bug Hunt to help scientists keep track of bees, ants, snails and all sorts of other bugs across Australia!

Our Work  |  Bug Hunt

Gotta Snap 'em All!

Ever wondered what bugs are living in your garden or hanging out on a hike?

There’s so many awesome bugs to discover and a few non-native ones that we want to protect our communities from. When you take part in Bug Hunt you can satisfy your curiosity, bring your kids and educate them along the way and you don’t even have to be an expert to identify bugs!

After uploading your findings, a community of experts and passionate bug-ologists (entomologists) will check out your uploads and identify what you’ve snapped – and for FREE!

We’re excited about launching bug hunt and want you to get involved – make sure you register to be part of the launch and our first bug hunt!

Subscribe for updates

Bug Hunt will go live in 2023, please subscribe for updates.

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Taking part is easy! Here's how Bug Hunt will work:

1) Download the iNaturalist app

You can do this via the app store or google play.

2) Join ISC Bug Hunt

We’ll let you know when Bug Hunt is up and running so you can sign up on the app.

3) Use your phone to take pictures of bugs

Bug hunters will use their phones to take pictures of bugs and upload them to the app! Sign up for useful field guides and material which are coming soon

4) Subscribe!

Subscribe here for monthly email updates on the project and a chance to show off your finds in the leaderboards

The Bugs

Here are some of the bugs we’ll be focusing on:

Bee Blitz

Everyone loves seeing bees in their gardens, from honeybees pollinating our crops to Australian blue banded bees. However there are many invasive and damaging bee species, some of which have been found in Australia.

Feral bee species out-compete and displace our Australian bees, and spread weedy plants over Australian plants.


Invasive ants are bad news for Australia. Increasing global trade has led to the unintended transport of ants across the world. 

Even in low numbers these ants hurt people, wildlife, agriculture and infrastructure, but once they build to super colony levels they can dominate large landscapes, killing, consuming or driving out everything in their path. 

We are targeting the Yellow Crazy Ant, which is currently under eradication in Cairns and Townsville. This will trial the use of citizen science to detect new invasions of ants, monitor the extent of outbreaks, and measure the success of eradication activities.

The Snail-Trail

While many people are unaware of the risks posed by exotic invasive snails, there are many species of snail that would cause significant damage to our environment and agriculture. 

Over 500 plant species are at risk from exotic snail species including fruit and vegetables; nurseries and rice; our natural environment and human health.

Why is Bug Hunt so important?

Invertebrates (animals without backbones—think bugs, snails, and even starfish), are one of the most diverse and abundant groups of animals in
world. We have hundreds of thousand species of native invertebrates species, busy across Australia, pollinating, nutrient cycling, ecosystem engineering, and providing food for other native animals.
Unfortunately, there are also invertebrate species that have entered Australia from overseas; some of which are wreaking havoc on our biodiversity, natural landscape, communities, and agriculture we call these ones ‘invasive’. We know of other invasive invertebrate species from around the world have also been identified as particularly bad, if they were to arrive in Australia. We have an opportunity to use the activities of citizen science  groups of interested people who are bushwalkers, birdwatchers, regenerators, and others, out in the environment and looking at what is there. If this network of potential biosecurity investigators can be coordinated and data used by government agencies, Australia will enjoy an enhanced surveillance capability and potentially have an early warning system looking out for these damaging pests.
Invertebrates are usually small, and often tricky to find, and identify. Some of them are only out and about in very short periods over a year. All these things make recording, or surveying for particular invertebrates difficult. This also means that it’s hard to know where invasive invertebrates may have spread to across our large country.
Citizen scientists have alerted authorities of several high priority invasive invertebrates across Australia. For example, community reports of new outbreaks account for more than 70% of total detections of red imported fire ant nests in south-east Queensland.