Activities and Lesson Plans

cover_bloodsuckersTEKS Correlations

Related 4th grade TEKS for Math, Language Arts,  Science and Technology Applications

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between bloodsuckers with “Poke and Suck” mouthparts and bloodsuckers with “Slash and Lap” mouthparts?
  2. How are leeches different from the other bloodsuckers? How are they the same?
  3. Which bloodsuckers feed only on human blood?   Which ones do not?
  4. Do bloodsuckers carry diseases? What’s a vector?
  5. How do many bloodsuckers find hosts?
  6. Do bloodsuckers bite (or poke) to be mean? Explain your answer.
  7. What do you think would happen to nature if all the mosquitoes disappeared?
  8. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Why do you think nature made it so that the only time many female bloodsuckers need a blood meal is right before they are about to reproduce?


Tick to Dot!
Here’s a challenging printable dot-to-dot of a tick. This is not for kinder kids, that’s for sure!

Lotsa Legs
There are two ways to find out how many legs these bloodsuckers have all together.  On a piece of paper, show both ways.

Kissing bugs have 6 legs
Bedbugs have 6 legs
Horseflies have 6 legs
Deerflies have 6 legs
Lice have 6 legs
Fleas have 6 legs

Hip, Hop, Array!
Using the information below about ticks, horseflies, and mosquitoes, how many different arrays can you make?

Ticks have 8 legs
Horseflies have 2 wings
Mosquitoes have 1 proboscis

Create a Pest Report
Do “Step 1: Choose a Subject” from the list on PestWorld for kids.  Make sure it’s one of the bloodsuckers featured in this month’s Keep Texas Wild. Click on your “pest” and read the information online about it or click “Download PEST INFOSHEET” and print it out. Then, write a short report about your bloodsucker. Be sure to proofread and fix your mistakes before you turn it in!


Yard Duty
Nature needs mosquitoes, but not too many. Now that humans have built so many of our own homes, we’ve accidentally created more mosquito homes  than nature ever intended. Your task is to eliminate some of them. Every weekend, go on a hunt for anything in your yard that contains water and doesn’t need to.

Dump the water out. Why? Because mosquitoes need only a tiny bit of water for their eggs to hatch. When you dump out the water, you’re helping get rid of places their eggs can hatch and helping reduce extra mosquito populations.

What’s All the Buzz About?
Visit and learn some interesting facts about mosquitoes. Choose 7 fun facts and include them on a poster that you share with your class in an oral report. Be sure to illustrate your poster, too (that means draw pictures about your facts)!

Answers for “Spike’s Activity Page”

Wild Math

Did you unlock the secret code in the magazine? 

If so, you found out that the secret message read: “Engorged means a bloodsucker is full of blood.”

When bloodsuckers get as full as they can get we say they have become “engorged.”

Most bloodsuckers have flat bodies that fill up with blood as they eat, just like a water balloon does when you turn on the faucet. But, even though they get fatter as they fill with blood they don’t stay fat. As the blood gets digested the bloodsucker’s body flattens out again.

Wild Social Studies

Long before you could buy insect repellent at the store, Texas Indians found natural ways to repel bloodsuckers.

  1. The Atakapa Indians rubbed oily ALLIGATOR GREASE on themselves to keep flying bloodsuckers from landing on them. (To learn more about the Atakapa Indians check out TPWD Kids: History of the Gulf Coast    
  2. Indians burned dry LANTANA leaves to repel mosquitoes.
  3. Oil from CEDAR trees helped Texas Indians repel fleas.
  4. In spite of its name, HORSEMINT this plant was not just popular with horses. The Apache crushed the leaves and rubbed them on their skin to ward off buzzing bloodsuckers.