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ACORN LAB. What is a Pest?. A plant, animal, or microorganism that has a negative effect on another organism. Background Information. Acorns are an important winter food for squirrels, blue jays and woodpeckers.

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What is a pest
What is a Pest?

  • A plant, animal, or microorganism that has a negative effect on another organism.

Background information
Background Information

  • Acorns are an important winter food for squirrels, blue jays and woodpeckers.

  • Many insects feed on the nuts of North American trees, including acorns, the nuts produced by oaks.

  • Some nut insects destroy so many nuts that it is difficult for trees to reproduce.

  • Acorn insects play important ecological roles as food for insect-eating animals or as pioneers that hollow out acorns for other insects to use as homes.

Common acorn insects
Common Acorn Insects

Acorn Moth

Acorn Weevil

(Snout Beetle)

Acorn weevil

Short-Snouted Weevil

Snout is one-half or less than its body length.

Feed on acorns lying on the forest floor.

Bite off bits of acorn meat from between cracks in the shells.

Females lay eggs between cracks in the shells.

Long-Snouted Weevil

Snout is equal to or greater than the length of its body.

Feed on acorns still attached to oak trees.

Can chew or drill into the shells to feed on the meat inside.

Females lay eggs in the holes drilled into acorns during feeding.

Acorn Weevil

Acorn moth
Acorn Moth

  • Identification

    • forewing gray to grayish-brown with pale line bordered distally by dark band (sometimes absent); black dots on forewing; hind wing shiny gray with dark veins and fringe of long hair-like scales

  • Season

    • adults fly from April to September

  • Food

    • larvae feed inside acorns and chestnuts

Insect larva

Acorn Weevil



no legs



Acorn Moth



has legs



Insect Larva

Acorn weevil in action
Acorn Weevil in Action



The scientific method
The Scientific Method

1. Problem/Question

2. Research

3. Hypothesis

4. Experiment

5. Conclusion

6. Report Results

Problem question
Problem / Question

  • Which content; moth larva, weevil larva, mold/fungus, feces, or untouched meat will be most common in acorns?


  • We will be using our prior knowledge, past experiences, and present knowledge of pests to determine which content may be the most common in acorns.


What do you expect to find most often in the acorns and why?

  • Sample: Untouched meat will be the most common content inside the acorns. The acorns were collected in September before many of the adult insects began lying eggs in them.


    “I think”, “I predict” or “My hypothesis is”!

The experiment
The Experiment

  • Independent Variable: Acorns

  • Dependent Variable: Contents

  • Constants: What was kept consistent/same?

    • List at least 5 factors.

  • Control Group: Untouched Acorns

  • Experimental Group: Infested Acorns

Other experimental factors
Other Experimental Factors

  • Materials

    • How much? Use metric units.

  • Procedure

    • List numerically. Be detailed.

  • Results: Data Table

    • Used to organize data.

  • Results: Graph

    • Used to visualize and analyze data.

    • Bar/column graph, line graph or pie chart

Data collection
Data Collection

Data Table: Characteristics of Acorns and Their Content

Data analysis sample data table
Data Analysis(Sample Data Table)

Data analysis sample graph
Data Analysis(Sample Graph)

Analysis conclusion
Analysis & Conclusion

  • Make a statement revealing whether the data collected provided support for or against the hypothesis.

  • Explain the data collected including specific numerical or observational data from the experiment.

  • Provide a reasonable explanation for the data and attempt to make connections based on the data collected.

  • What future experiments could be done based on the data collected or how could the experiment be extended to collect more data?