A Science Lesson Kind Of Day

You might remember my recent posts about our little wasp friend {here and here}. We set up a lovely home in a large jar we have, filling it with twigs and leaves, etc. Reading online that wasps typically feed on caterpillars and other insects {though I have since learned the adult paper wasps eat nectar and feed their young with the caterpillars…good to know}, and not having caterpillars in our backyard at the time {we now have SEVERAL} I decided to head to the pet store for some grub. I grabbed some super worms and other little worms and put some into the jar to help the queen nurture her *brood* .

It didn’t work.

Mama Wasp closed herself up in the nest with her babes {eggs} and, from what we can gather, died. I guess the super worms were not an adequate substitute – and clearly without any flowers in the jar, no nectar could be found. Not wanting to jump the gun, we just let things be….until yesterday when I noticed the nest had opened up. I excitedly looked for the mama wasp and her young, but found nothing. Further examination {picture Brent and I with our noses pressed to the glass and a flashlight shining the way} showed that one of the super worms had found it’s way inside and eaten everything.

Oops.

Super worms feed on dead twigs, leaves, and decaying creatures. It was basically the best picnic ever….and all the other little worms I had purchased and put in as well, died quickly and had obviously also been devoured. Grossed out yet?

This morning I swatted a wasp inside our house. And, instead of washing it down the sink I put it in the jar – no my intent was not to have pet super worms, but I thought it would be a fun science lesson for the kids. Several times one of the worms took it’s chance to eat the wasp, buuuut because he/she apparently wasn’t really dead, got away.

A super worm attempting to snack on the wasp...

Off to school we went to show Brooklyn’s class – seeing and learning about things in books is one thing, but getting the visual and a more hands on experience is invaluable. Plus Brooklyn loves taking critters to school, and because her teacher is awesome, she enjoys it too…..and what resulted was an amazing, hour long science lesson.

Brooklyn's teacher getting the wasp out so the kids could have a closer look {wings don't fly}

I love that they have these old school containers to magnify critters.

Getting a closer look at the Super worms

So icky looking...like part caterpillar and snake

The wasp probably welcomed the break from the hungry super worms

After everyone had inspected the critters {and the wasp nest which was also in one}, Brooklyn’s teacher pulled up on the computer {using the smartboard – love them} information about wasps and super worms. We all learned a lot…including how to pupate and eventually breed them. I understand you are all thinking why someone, particularly a non-reptile owner {on of their main predators}. Well, for the science lesson of it of course!

In perfect *pupating* form in film containers

Can't be too safe - also in a larger container so no escaping can happen

For now these are on our kitchen table {anyone want to come for dinner? bahahaha} but I’m thinking of loaning them to Brooklyn’s class for the last couple of weeks of school…so we shall see.

And the wasp? I’m trying to figure out if she is also a queen {that would be awesome to see} and am hoping I can now keep her alive. I should have been more gentle this morning I guess while swatting her down. Anyways, I’ve added a caterpillar {not a super worm this time} as well as a nice big peony from our backyard {which she took too immediately}. Guess we’ll see what the future holds for this little critter.

A fun science lesson for sure – guess my childhood fascination of bugs didn’t go too far after all.

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