Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Caterpillars are Rampaging!

It's that time of year again - the count down to the end has begun! I'm desperately trying to cram all I can into these last 25 days! Unfortunately I don't have time for it all, so now I have to pick and choose which activities are must-dos and which can be skipped this year.


One thing that is going really well is our Butterfly Life Cycle unit. I am so happy I decided to go with eggs this year! For the first week or so after we placed the eggs on our plants we couldn't really tell we had caterpillars, except for a few small holes on the leaves. Well, this week we got a major lesson in the ravenous nature of caterpillars:

 At the beginning of the week we were thrilled that we could actually see the caterpillars and attempt to count them. We had some great discussions about camouflage and why it was important that the caterpillars blend in with the color of the leaves they like to eat. Look how lush all those cauliflower, cabbage, radish and brussel sprout plants look! I was really proud that we had succeeded in growing the plants our caterpillars needed.

 
Unfortunately, by Thursday the caterpillars had completely decimated our plants. Seemingly overnight we went from just a few leaves with holes to not a single leaf left!

  
 When we came in on Thursday morning we were able to get a more exact count of our caterpillars since they had decided to try to escape in search of more food - almost every caterpillar had made its way to the top of the netting!

 
This did enable us to finally get an up close and personal look at the little buggers :)

It also led to some great conversations about why farmers would have a problem with caterpillars. Although my littles love the caterpillars and think it's great that we can see them eating so much, they were able to put themselves in the farmers' shoes and realize that if they had caterpillars eating all the crops that would be very hard financially. We talked about how farmers stop bugs from eating their plants - using pesticides and even releasing lady bugs. I love how though-provoking science can be at this age - something as simple as watching caterpillars has led to some big connections! And, most of these conversations would not have been possible if we were using the caterpillars that come with the brown goop to eat!

UPDATE: For those of you curious as to where to get the eggs, I ordered mine from Carolina Biological. They sent enough eggs to ensure "5-6 butterflies" and we had at least 13 caterpillars hatch! If you're wondering about our plants, I blogged about that here. Once we were ready for the caterpillars I just transplanted our seedlings to a pot and placed it in our butterfly net.

Now that we've had to finish up our Plant Life Cycle and switch our caterpillars to cabbage leaves from the grocery store, we're setting up our incubator in preparation for our Chicken Life Cycle! I'm also considering whether we have time for these:

 Any clue what they are? Head over to  my FB page to guess! You could win your choice of Life Cycle packs from my store!

Alright, to finish up this post, here is a picture of Sullivan with Olaf - we couldn't resist when we saw it at JCPenny lol!

1 Rustle Up A Response!:

Terry said... Reply to comment

Where did you order the eggs? Also...tell me more about preparing the plants. Thanks!

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