What bug would live in a school like this?

IT would not do to be arachnophobic in Oxfordshire, where primary pupils have been having a ball finding out how many bugs inhabit their school premises.

The eight-month experiment produced startling results, with spitting spiders, weevils, fungus gnats, carpet beetles and booklice among 64 species collected.

One school discovered that its bug population outnumbered pupils by more than two to one.

The 80 children and three staff at Stadhampton primary found 180 spiders, woodlice, silverfish and other insects. The rural school now has a gold medal from Oxford University's Museum of Natural History for being Oxfordshire's buggiest school.

A total of 42 schools entered the museum's Great Oxfordshire Bug Quest to find the school with the largest number of species.

Each school was provided with three sticky traps, to be kept in the headteacher's study, the store cupboard and the hall. The head's office was found to be the least favourite place for creepy-crawlies and the hall the most popular.

Stadhampton science co-ordinator Kathryn Turner said: "The children were very enthusiastic about it. They found this really inspiring."

Bishop Loveday C of E, in Bodicote near Banbury, won the bug quest gold medal for most species. It trapped 94 bugs from 18 species.

Science co-ordinator and Year 1 teacher Rebecca Workman said: "We have plastic bugs and pop-up books, but they loved using the magnifying glass to see real bugs."

The quest was organised by Dr George McGavin, assistant curator of the entomological collections at the museum.

He said: "We all share our homes with these hangers-on. It has nothing to do with cleanliness - things like silverfish are probably present in every house in the land from the richest to the poorest."

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you