Insect Identification Contest

Important Alert!

This page contains outdated information, rules, and guidelines. We are working on updating the entire Fairbook for 2018. Please check back later for the most current information.

Superintendent – Jim Kalisch, Lincoln


  • Participant Eligibility:
    • Participant must be 10 years old on January 1 of the current year.
    • Contestants must be 4-H members at the time of the contest.
    • Contestant eligibility will be verified by county extension staff.
  • Participants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $5/person. 
  • Participants will be notified of the location of the contest prior to State Fair. 
  • General rules from the 4-H section of the Nebraska State Fair apply.


Age divisions will be determined by their 4-H age, the age of the youth before January 1 of the current year.

  • F500031 Intermediate: Ages 10-13
  • F500030 Senior: Ages 14-18


  • Participants may enter only as an individual. 
  • Individuals compete according to their age division.
  • Members do NOT need to be enrolled in a 4-H Entomology project to participate.
  • Contestants will have at least an hour to identify 50-60 insect specimens. Identifications will be scored strictly by the names given on the Specimen Study List, as common names may vary according to resources studied. 
  • Contestants will identify specimens by common name only, and will use a key consisting of eligible orders and insects from which to write the corresponding letter (for order) and number (for insects) on an answer sheet. Every 5th specimen will have a multiple-choice insect knowledge question about the insect. The question may require the meaning of the order name, type of antennae, legs or mouthparts, kind of metamorphosis, a fact about biology, or the scientific name of the specimen. Scoring: Each correct order answer is worth 1 point, and each correct insect answer is worth 1 point. Each multiple-choice question is worth 2 points. 
  • Contestants should not touch specimens during the contest. Magnifying lenses and printed images will accompany tiny specimens.
  • Ties will be broken with a supplemental tie-breaker section at the end of the contest answer sheet consisting of 10 specimens to identify to order along with 2 insect knowledge questions. These specimens will be much more difficult to identify. 
  •  Pencils and clipboards will be provided for contestants.



Individuals for both age divisions:

  • Medals: Gold (1st), Silver (2nd), Bronze (3rd)
  • Placement Ribbons: 1st through 10th place individual ribbons