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Old 04-21-2014, 10:47 AM
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Default Butterfly or Ladybug Houses?

I've been wanting to get a butterfly house for the kids for a few years now but never seem to get around to it. I see they have ladybug homes now too. Anybody here do either of these and how do your kids like them? Are they worth the money? Good luck, bad luck with them?
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:00 AM
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I love the butterfly ones and have always had success with them. The kids love watching the transformation -though they tend to ignore them while they are in the chrysallis. You can actually see them shaking in there, and the kids have seen the butterfly "pop " out. Really cool ongoing science!
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:05 AM
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We've done the butterfly one and the kids love it. I just ordered my caterpillars again. I'm curious to see how the ladybug one is though.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:37 AM
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We have also done the butterfly one , the kids loved it . We did have some tears when it was time to set them free though .
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:44 AM
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I did the ladybugs last year and my older kids loved it.

I also bought praying mantis, so the kids could watch them hatch. I was able to buy them at a local Ace Hardware.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:46 AM
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Love the butterfly ones!! They always work out well!
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:54 AM
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We just grow our own. Look for milkweed when we're out for walks and check it for monarch eggs. (Most often they're on the underside of the leaves.)
Put the leaves with eggs in a jar on a damp paper towel and in a day or two we have 1/8th inch caterpillars, which grow into 2" + caterpillars within 2 weeks. (Bring home leaves to feed them every few days at first, and then every day as they get larger.)
Two weeks in the most beautiful chrysalis I have ever seen, and then you have damp-winged monarchs to hold on a stick until the wings dry enough so they can fly away.

Every day you can see the growth. We've seen them eat & poop, shed their skin, and form their chrysalis, as well as come out of the chrysalis.
Before they come out, the chrysalis changes from spring green to black. But actually it's the pupa inside changing - the shell is clear! And if you look closely you can see miniature monarch wings, with every detail, for a day or so before they come out.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:02 PM
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I've had a bunch of the bugs (ladybugs, gel ant farms, butterflies, and the praying mantis egg sack). The ladybugs were pretty entertaining and the kids absolutely loved releasing them because we saw them around the yard all week. The kids did get bored with them in the "ladybug land" because they don't do much of anything.

The kids have always been very interested in the butterflies and the changes they undergo leading up to the butterfly stage. Some children get very sad when we release them and we hardly ever see them again. This has always been my favorite!

The ant farm I have been interested in watching, especially at the beginning. The children for some reason were not as interested. I got the gel ant farm because you don't have to feed or water them (they get everything from the gel).

The mantis egg sack was extremely boring at first. It takes 1-2 months before they hatch and then out of nowhere you will have about 100+ baby praying mantises. They take a lot of care and you have to release all but one because they will start eating each other. Also, you have to provide a daily allotment of live bugs, which I wasn't willing to partake in so I ended up letting them all go. Approximately 20 of them died right off the bat. The plus side is that the children can hold them though.

We have caught a bunch of other bugs in the yard too for observation (caterpillars, butterflies, ants, praying mantises, dragon flies, spiders, bees). We also captured lizards on a couple of occasions and then released them shortly thereafter.

I always wanted to be an entomologist when I was a child so I really love the bug theme!
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:05 PM
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We have a frog habitat. Our tadpoles should be arriving by mid May. The kids are so excited! Last summer we had praying mantis and other bugs. The kids loved them. When the mantis died we had a funeral (DD's request). We love bugs!
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Sprat View Post
We have a frog habitat. Our tadpoles should be arriving by mid May. The kids are so excited! Last summer we had praying mantis and other bugs. The kids loved them. When the mantis died we had a funeral (DD's request). We love bugs!
Frogs were banned here We loved our frogs so much.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:38 PM
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I've done the butterfly and the ladybug houses. The kids were more excited about the butterflies than the ladybugs. I think I'm doing the butterflies again this year.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:12 PM
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We too love the butterflies and have done them for years. Right now our five are just beginning the chrysalis stage.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:38 PM
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I don't really have any experience with either but just wanted to add something to also consider.

I had an ex-boyfriend who studied plant science (he wanted to be an agricultural pest control specialist). He said that, from an agricultural point of view, catapillars/butterflies are considered pests because they eat plants and can distroy crops; but that ladybugs are good because they eat some of the bugs that try to eat the plants (like aphids). So I would also try to keep that in mind that if you have a garden or, as a courtousy, if your neighbors have a garden or you live by a crop field.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:44 PM
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thanks for the tips!

I just ordered the illuminated gel ant farm from amazon (will have kids hunt down the regular garden ants in our backyard), and they will months of fun/education for just $23!
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:35 AM
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Sarah, just be careful that you get ants all from the same colony. We did that one year and made the mistake of getting ants from different colonies. They fight to the death.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarah33 View Post
thanks for the tips!

I just ordered the illuminated gel ant farm from amazon (will have kids hunt down the regular garden ants in our backyard), and they will months of fun/education for just $23!
My daughter got that for Christmas. It's awesome.even though this time the ants didn't see to live as long.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:47 AM
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We have done a gel ant farm and butterflies. The ant farm was interesting to them for a brief period of time. The butterflies were endlessly interesting to them. I enjoyed both!
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:29 AM
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Can anyone provide links to their favorite butterfly kits, ant farms, lady bug kit, tadpole kit, etc?
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:59 AM
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Taylor, look up the insect lore site. They have all those, plus the praying mantis.
http://www.insectlore.com/ladybug-land
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