On a nice warm day or even on a winter day, you and your child can go on a Bug Search!
This is a fun project for kids and it can actually turn into a long term hobby. This hobby includes learning, discovery, journal keeping, common sense, empathy, observation, learning scientific names and classifications as well as the bonus of getting a bit of fresh air and exercise. It can also be a good way of breaking your child away from being in front of the TV or “Gameboy”!
It IS a bug world. They outnumber us and you will be able to discover them almost anywhere. Some good places to look are in empty lots, fields, under leaves, under rocks, in trees, on your front porch, in parks, on the sidewalk in front of your home and well, on a wall, just anywhere! Year around, but especially in the winter some will have come indoors, so your search doesn’t necessarily need to be outdoors!
Put together a list of the kinds of bugs you hope to find and then go look! Check off the ones you find. Take scientific notes!
What you need:
This type of hunt is fun. You put together a list of the kinds of bugs you hope to find and then go look! Check off the ones you find.
Take scientific notes!
Write down your observations about each bug you find in your “Bug Journal”.
Keep your “Bug Journal” with you wherever you go. Leave the bugs where you find them! Be careful about handling bugs. They can possess stingers, pinchers, or fangs!
Here’s a possible bug’s perspective (point of view): If your only means of protection from “giants” was a stinger you would definitely use it! Right?
Remember, if you lift rocks, and other objects to look underneath for crawlies be sure to replace them in a careful manner. These are homes. If you capture and bring home a bug to study remember to return it to the wild when you are done.
Go on “searches” during different times of the year. Note which ones you can find and how many.
What do you notice about winter time? Where do they go when it gets too cold?
Going on Bug Searches can be a fun thing to do in groups and you may even find yourself starting a club featuring this new hobby!
Ladybugs, Ladybugs, Come to My Garden
Ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybirds, can be a
gardener’s best friend. The ladybug’s bright coloring brings
welcomed cheer to the garden, as well as helping with pest
control. Since medieval times, ladybugs have been valued by
farmers all over the world. Many believe that the ladybug was
divinely sent to free crops of insect pests. In fact, that is how
the ladybug got its name. People dedicated the bug to the Virgin
Mary and therefore called it "The Bug of our Lady", which was
eventually shortened to the present name "ladybug".
Adult ladybugs are usually oval or domed shaped and have red
wings, yellow wings or shades and variations of these colors. The
number of black spots can range from no spots to 15 spots and
they are typically about one quarter inch in size or smaller.
The length of the life cycle of a ladybug varies depending upon
temperature, humidity, and food supply. Usually the life cycle
from egg to adult is about three to four weeks, and up to six
weeks during the cooler spring months. During the spring the
adult female ladybug can lay up to three hundred eggs in an aphid
colony. The eggs normally hatch in two to five days. The newly
hatched larvae feed on aphids for up to three weeks and then
enter the pupae stage. About one week later, the adult ladybug
emerges. There can be as many as six generations of ladybugs
hatched in a year.
The ladybug enjoys popularity around the world. These pretty
insects have long been considered a symbol of good luck and
fortune because of their ability to eat an enormous amount of
aphids. One ladybug can eat as many as 50 to 60 aphids per day.
Aphids (also called plant lice) are herbivores and are one of the
worst groups of pests on plants. They feed in colonies and damage
plants by sucking the juice out of the leaves, stems, or roots.
While aphids feed, they damage plant tissue creating a loss of
plant fluids and the photosynthetic tissue needed to produce
energy for plant growth. Some plants will show no adverse
response to aphids, while others react with twisted, curled or
swollen leaves or stems. Aphids also transmit many plant diseases
from one plant to another.
Apart from aphids, ladybugs eat a variety of other insects and
larvae including white flies, mealy bugs, spider mites, and other
types of soft-bodied insects. They also require a source of
pollen for food and for that reason are attracted to certain
types of plants. Their preferred plants have umbrella shaped
flowers such as dill, fennel, angelica, tansy, caraway, cilantro,
yarrow, and wild carrot. Other plants that attract ladybugs
include cosmos (especially the white ones), dandelions,
coreopsis, and scented geraniums.
If your garden does not have adequate space to plant ladybug
attracting plants, you can purchase ladybugs from numerous
websites on the internet and most nurseries. Before releasing
them into your garden, here are a few tips to help ensure that
the ladybugs stay where you want them:
1. Release ladybugs near infested plants after sun down or before
sun up. They navigate by the sun and are most likely to stay put
in the evenings and early mornings.
2. Water the area where you are going to release the ladybugs.
They will appreciate the drink and the moisture on the leaves
will help the ladybugs to “stick”; on the plants. If released in a
dry garden, the ladybugs will most likely fly off in search of a
drink instead of sticking around to eat.
3. In the warmer months, chill the ladybugs in the refrigerator
before releasing them. This will not harm the ladybugs and they
tend to crawl more in colder temperatures rather than fly away.
Another way to attract ladybugs to your garden is to place
several ladybug habitation boxes around your garden. Fill the
boxes with organic material such as peat or compost to encourage
ladybugs to roost and lay eggs inside the box. In addition, the
habitation box also provides protection for the ladybugs in the
To further promote ladybug populations, consider cutting back on
spraying insecticides in your garden. Ladybugs are sensitive to
most synthetic insecticides and if the majority of their food
source is gone, they will not lay their eggs and therefore will
not continue to populate.
Here are some interesting ladybug facts:
– There are nearly 5,000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide
and 400 which live in North America.
– A female ladybug will lay more than 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
– A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second when it flies.
– A gallon jar will hold from 72,000 to 80,000 ladybugs.
– Ladybugs make a chemical that smells and tastes terrible so
that birds and other predators won’t eat them.
– The spots on a ladybug fade as the ladybug gets older.
– Ladybugs won’t fly if the temperature is below 55 degrees
– The ladybug is the official state insect of Delaware,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee.
As you can see, the ladybug is one of the most effective and
economically important insects to have in your garden. In some
cultures, seeing ladybugs in gardens indicates a bountiful
harvest, an indication of good weather or a good luck omen.
Create an alluring environment for ladybugs and they are sure to
provide charm and pest control in your garden for years to come.
Copyright 2005 Lesley Dietschy
Lesley Dietschy is the creator/editor of The Home Decor Exchange,
a popular home decor, garden decor, and home improvement website.
Please visit the website for quality resources, articles, ideas,
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Some good insect books:
Want to try raising Earthworms? Go to
HSA’s Mother Earth