A girl shakes the branch of a tree

Shake a tree

It's raining bugs! Tree-beating is a great way to discover an incredible world of minibeasts otherwise hidden in the branches above.

Don't worry, we're not telling you to vandalise trees, it's just a great way of seeing what interesting little critters are living in the trees around you! 

It might sound a bit violent, but if done right, tree-beating doesn't harm the tree or the minibeasts that call it home. 

You can go tree-beating at any time of the year and you'll find different creatures depending on the time of year, but it's best to do it in fine weather when trees are dry.

Late summer and early autumn are good times for spiders, and in winter you might find leafhoppers and harvestmen on conifers. 

So grab a stick and a sheet and get closer to the wildlife watching you from overhead.


Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Take a look at your progress and go for gold!


Did you know The the science of studying insects is called Entomology. Entom is the insect bit and ology means 'the study of'.


people have completed this activity

What will you need

  • A light-coloured sheet or big piece of paper (even a light umbrella will work)
  • Our Activity sheet (download in: English, Cymraeg, Bilingual)


Welsh/English bilingual resources are also now available for our family Wild Challenge activities/ Adnoddau dwyieithog rŵan ar gael ar gyfer gweithgareddau Sialens Wyllt

A ladybird picture

Step-by-step guide

  1. Find a tree or bush with some low hanging branches and lay your sheet underneath. Ideally you'll have some helpers holding it up at the edge so minibeasts collect in the middle at the bottom.
  2. Shake the branch or gently hit it with a stick once (no need to keep hitting because most minibeasts will hang on after the initial tap). Don't be too rough! You don't want to damage it. 
  3. Collect some of the minibeasts with your pooter or a paintbrush and container and see what you've got. 
  4. Remember that to the bugs you’re a GIANT. So be gentle and don’t hurt these tiny creatures. Put them back carefully as soon as you’ve had a look.
  5. Use an ID sheet if you want to go into a little bit more detail.
  6. Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or a piece of writing talking about your experience to help earn your award.
Hawthorn shieldbug
A father and son look for bugs

Completing the activity

Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of what you saw or your family on the look out! Alternatively, draw or paint what you saw or upload a piece of writing talking about your experience.

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