Note: This post is part of our series, "Netflix Academy: The best educational videos available for streaming." Be sure to check out our previous Netflix Academy posts on dinosaurs; the American foundersaquatic life; the Maya, Inca, and AztecNative American culturesChristopher Columbus and the Age of Discovery; and movie adaptations of classic children’s books. Thanks to research interns Melissa Reynolds and Singer Crawford for their help in compiling these lists.

What do Meryl Streep, Reading Rainbow, and the French all have in common? They all love bugs, apparently. This week’s offering of free streaming videos on Netflix and Amazon explores the world of insects—just in time, as an early freeze in much of the nation is surely killing off many of the creepy-crawly critters. Enjoy!

The 10 best streaming videos on insects

1. DisneyNature: Wings of Life

DisneyNature: Wings of Life

Full of intrigue, drama, and beauty, this mesmerizing documentary looks at bats, butterflies, hummingbirds and bees—increasingly endangered little creatures that a third of the world's food supply depends on. Meryl Streep narrates.

Length: 80 minutes

Rating: G

2. Microcosmos


Employing unique microscopic cameras and powerful specialized microphones, this highly praised French documentary is a fascinating look at the seldom-explored world of insects and other minute creatures as they go about their daily lives. With footage of ladybugs feasting and snails mating to a mystical score by composer Bruno Coulais, the film won five César Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Music.

Length: 75 minutes

Rating: G

3. Camoflauge & Defense in the Insect World

Camouflage & Defense In The Insect World

Be amazed at the variety of ways insects have developed to protect themselves. Several methods are shown, including camouflage, warning colors, and mimicking the shape of an imposter.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

4. Reading Rainbow Collection, Episode 10: Bugs

Reading Rainbow Collection, Episode 10: Bugs

With microorganisms under his belt, LeVar now goes on the lookout for insects.

Length: 30 minutes

Rating: NR

5. Bees: Social or Solitary Insects?

Bees: Social or Solitary Insects?

This program compares social bees with solitary bees. Bumblebees are shown gathering pollen and making their nests and viewed in contrast with honeybees. Students will learn the different roles that bumblebees have in their societies.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

6. Praying Mantis: Insect Predator

Praying Mantis: Insect Predator

One of the fiercest hunters in the insect world is the praying mantis. This insect has a unique adaptation for hiding in its environment and catching prey. Baby mantises hatch out of their nest looking like miniature adults.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

7. Dragonflies: A Complete Insect Life Cycle

Dragonflies: A Complete Insect Life Cycle

The development of the dragonfly is shown as it emerges from its exoskeleton, patrols its territory, and finds a mate. Watch as this fierce hunter catches a tadpole and as the female dragonfly lays her eggs, before getting eaten by a frog.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

8. Crickets: Territorial Insects

Crickets: Territorial Insects

Crickets are shown finding food, communicating, and defending their territory. Mole crickets are also shown in more detail, adapting to their unique underground environment and just as fiercely territorial as their aboveground cousins.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

9. Garden Travels: The Salvia Garden and the San Fran Insect Zoo

Garden Travels: The Salvia Garden and the San Fran Insect Zoo

Dave travels to visit with garden author Betsy Clebsch and explores her fabulous Salvia Garden. Then Dave is off to the City by the Bay for some hands-on fun with creepy-crawly bugs at the San Francisco Insect Zoo.

Length: 23 minutes

Rating: NR

10. Insect Adaptations for Water

Insect Adaptations For Water

Water striders, stick insects, and whirligigs are three insects that have developed unique adaptations for life in and on the water. The unusual shapes of these insects allow them to maneuver by walking on water. Stick insects also spend much of their time hunting prey under the water.

Length: 12 minutes

Rating: NR

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