Exploring bugs in Central Texas through the eyes of a child

Bees buzz my brain!

Hi, I’m back to talk about bugs and this time we are going to talk about bees!!  Honeybees specifically but we also want to know more about native bees and solitary bees. Bees are important because they are the pollinator masters.  I see them all over.  I’ve seen them in the wildflower field at my school.  I’ve seen them on the vegetable plants.  They are all looking for pollen.  Bees store pollen in pollen baskets on their hind legs or under their belly.  It is their job.  Image

Like look at this guy above, he has got a lot of pollen on his leg.  It’s like a backpack, but on your leg, and filled with pollen not your lunchbox. Not all bees live in hives, although honeybees do.  Some are called solitary which means they do not live in hives.

ImageDid you know that all worker bees are female?  Yep. It’s true.

Bees are also dancers.  I know that sounds kind of funny, but guess what- it’s not.  They dance to communicate to show all the other bees where they got the pollen so they can get more.  That means more honey for humans.  yum.

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Do you know some cool things about bees?  Well, tell me in a comment because I want to know more.

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Orb Weaver Spider

SONY DSC  Hi, I’m back to talk about bugs.  We are talking about the orb weaver spider today.  This spider is named for it’s spooky bicycle-wheel shaped web.  I read that in my cool Bug guide my mom got me on a trip.  You can see how it catches dew drops in the picture above from our garden.  Did you know that a strand of spider silk is stronger for its diameter (my mom says that means how thick it is) than steel?  Guess how big the web usually is…go ahead, take a guess.

-is it as big as a cookie?

-is it as big as a dinner plate?

-is it as big as a large pizza?

If you said pizza, you are RIGHT!  And this spider is actually not an insect- it is an arachnid.  Arachnids have 8 legs.  And insects only have 6 legs.  Does that mean spiders are better dancers? We’ll leave that question unanswered.

they have eight eyes.  Besides  the legs, they also have these things at their mouth called pedipalps which helps them hold things.  My mom and I love that word.  Pedipalps, pedipalps, pedipalps.  Maybe you can see them in the photo below.  SONY DSC

So, I think the orb weaver spider is cool because it has so many interesting things about it.  My favorite thing is that some of them eat their web and then rebuild it every day.  Awesome.  And that is all I have to say about that!

Mealybug Destroyer

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Hey everyone, I’m back to talk about bugs.  Today we are going to talk about mealybug destroyers.  If you look in the above picture, you’ll see a ladybug.  But look up and to the left of the ladybug.  See that fluffy white thing?  That is a MEALYBUG DESTROYER!  They eat lots of aphids.  And apparently mealybugs.  But not themselves.  They are mealybug destroyers, not mealybugs.  But it is pretty cool because when they are larva they are white and kind of fluffy looking, like cotton candy.  Actually they try to look like mealybugs.  My mom says this is called mimicry. When they turn into adults, they turn brown.

My mom just told me that mealybug destroyers are related to ladybugs.  And that’s all I am going to say. Here’s another picture

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So you should remember that mealybug destroyers are not really mealybugs and that they are good to have in the garden.  And cool to look at.

(added later) my mom just found this picture she took last year. man, that is a bug party. Click on the picture to see it closeup.

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Stick Bug

IMG_5180Today we are going to talk about the stick bug.  I came up with some questions that I wanted to know about and thought you might too.

Alex’s Bug Form

Bug Name:  Walking Stick, Stick Bug

Scientific Name: Phasmatodea

Color:  Green or Brown usually

Mouthparts:  Chewing

How big:  Can get up to 13″!!!!  But not here.

Do they bite? No

Are they poisonous? No

What do they eat?  Leaves

Do they change how they look? Babies look like adults, only smaller.  But different types of stick insects can look really different. Some can be flatter. There are 3000 kinds of stick bugs

Do they do anything cool?  When a predator tries to grab them, they can lose their leg that is being held and get away and then regrow another one.  Also, when they lay eggs, they can lay more than 1,000.

Do they walk upside down?yes.

Where do you find them? On leaves

Are they long when they are babies? No, not as long as adults

How long do they live: about 1-2 years

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Hi, I like bugs.   I have liked bugs ever since I was really little. In fact, that’s me above in the picture at 4 years old with a bug on my head.  When my mom and dad realized I liked bugs so much, they bought me a bug box so I could collect bugs that I found.  But we have a rule.  We only collect bugs that are already dead when we find them…unless they are yucky like the scorpion that we found in my mom’s bathroom.

So I am now starting this blog to show the cool bugs that I  find and share some information.  I’ll find a bug, I’ll post a picture, I’ll tell you about it. And just FYI, we don’t just stick strictly to insects.  We like to show spiders, scorpions, and other things.

So let’s begin.