Homeschool Fun With Insects


So, it looks like we are embarking on an unexpected insect adventure. Praying Mantises!

I was volunteering in one of Antwan’s co-op classes and the main teacher also teaches the bug class. She had approximately 200 Praying Mantises with her and was ready to distribute them to her class. I, of course, was all excited about them. They were so tiny and cute! I mentioned that I wished Lizzie was here because she would like to see them. She then offered to send a couple home with us. I thanked her and pretended that I was doing it all for Lizzie. Haha. And, soon, I was happily saying yes to her offer to let me hold one.  (I mean, seriously, it was a baby Praying Mantis!)

Then, she gave me more details and I realized it really would be an adventure for me. They have to eat their food live. The dead insects that the teacher had put in the cage didn’t interest them at all. They like food like mosquitoes and fruit flies. If they don’t get satisfactory food, they will eat each other. I have spent my whole life refusing to feed anything live to live. I mean, I respect that the snake has to eat but I don’t want any part of it. So here I was, faced with a bit of a moral dilemma. Who do I kill? The Praying Mantis or the fruit fly? Not to mention the question of how I was going to catch live mosquitoes or fruit flies??

Either way, the idea of Lizzie’s excitement kept me on board and I took my jar of Praying Mantis to the next class. The next class was ASL2 with Antwan and his biggest interest in life sure was not Sign Language. It was “keep those things away from me.” haha

Lizzie, however, was super excited when I plopped the jar on the table next to  plate at lunchtime. And she instantly made a million plans for her new friends. (And, later, when William got home, he was into them, too.)

Baby Praying Mantises!

After learning that Petsmart sells flightless fruit flies and being reassured by Brian that fruit flies don’t feel pain and only live a handful of days, anyway, we headed to Petsmart.

We got the flies, a small habitat and promptly put in several fruit flies and a jar with two Praying Mantises.

After waiting several minutes for the little guys to crawl out and explore their new home, we finally realized they were already dead. Nooo!

So now we have a terrarium with two dead Praying Mantises and rapidly reproducing fruit flies. In my kitchen, I have a vial (securely closed) of more fruit flies which I assume are also happily reproducing.

I have two kids who are now obsessed with the idea of ordering not yet hatched Praying Mantises and you know I’m gonna do it.  Because, well, I already have the food and the home, anyway! All I need are 200 Praying Mantises!

At least, it’s educational! 😉






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