Wild ride Children

Six and crawling

Summer is the time for insects to be at the peak of their activity, enjoying the abundance of nectar from flowers, munching on leaves, making their homes underground, on trees and elsewhere and stocking up on food for the rainy days.

If, by any chance, you come upon a caterpillar in your vegetables or among your balcony plants, you can transplant it along with its food plant into a box with holes. Watch the caterpillar grow, keep feeding it with the same plant leaves or vegetables you found it on and make sure you brush out the droppings and clean the box daily. It will give you great joy to watch the caterpillar metamorphose into a pupa and then a butterfly. Release the butterfly and give it back its freedom.

Name these insects

1. The overlapping scales on their wings, rather like roof tiles on old houses, are what give these pretty insects their delightful colours. Fluttering from flower to flower, they sip nectar by the hour. Considered to be sun worshippers, they are seen only on cloudless, sunny days.

Six and crawling

2. Considered social insects, they live in colonies with a queen reigning supreme. Wingless and blind, they are always on the move, hardly ever sleeping. They have a taste for anything sweet and you may have found them hovering around your sugar and jam pots. Watch out, some of them can bite.

Six and crawling

3. They are the master architects, building superb, air-conditioned houses that can reach a height of even eight feet. They too are social insects with a queen that lays eggs all her life and lives for a good 40 to 50 years. They are wonderful recyclers, converting dead wood into soil.

Six and crawling

4. They look pretty with their red or orange coats with black polka dots and are considered natural pest controllers, as they prey upon other insects like Mealy Bugs and Aphids that destroy plants. When threatened, they feign death and, at the same time, exudate an oily yellow liquid that has a nasty odour and is sure to repel their enemies.

Six and crawling

5. Have you ever wondered where or how all the animal poop disappears? If it were not for these little creatures, we would be drowning in piles of animal poop. They live in balls of animal poop, feed upon it and even lay their eggs in it.

Six and crawling

6. These primitive, wingless insects, silvery in colour, tear-drop shaped with three long bristles at their rear end, remind one of fish when they crawl in a wriggly manner. They are found in dark, damp places and even in books. This is because their favourite food is starch and carbohydrates, which are also found in glue.

Six and crawling

Answers: 1. Butterflies 2. Ants 3. Termites 4. Ladybird Beetles 5. Dung Roller Beetles 6. Silverfish


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 7:28:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/six-and-crawling/article31936490.ece

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