Monthly Archives: July 2014

Composting Worms Eating Cantaloupe

Composting Worms Eating CantaloupeIn this picture you will see composting worms eating cantaloupe. Composting worms seem to like sweet foods such as winter squash, watermelon rinds and cantaloupe rinds. Here is a picture of worms under a cantaloupe rind after it has been in the bin a few days.  This cantaloupe rind was not buried in the bin.  It was actually sitting next to the worm compost and the worms found their way to it.  These are not actually so many worms.  When they really get going they form a huge squirming mass under cantaloupe rinds like they are having a huge party.

 

Cantaloupe Rind and Red WigglersSo it is very interesting that the worms found their way under this cantaloupe rind.  How did they know it was there?  It wasn’t buried in with all the other compost where they might just happen upon it in their journeys through the compost bin.  In this picture to the right you can see how the rind was situated in relation to all the other worm compost.  And you can see that this compost is practically finished.  It really looks like dirt now.

More on Composting Worms Eating Cantaloupe

Composting Worms Finding Cantaloupe RindSo I found this very curious–how do the worms find the cantaloupe??  So I decided to do an experiment.  I put some cantaloupe rind in a worm bin.  This time I put it away from the finished compost so it wasn’t so close to the main compost in the worm bin.  And so there wasn’t any compost touching it.  In the last picture the compost went up to the rind.  I wanted to see if the worms would find it.  Here is a picture of the worms on their way to the cantaloupe rind and on their way under it!  The worms must be able to smell this in order to find it.  So I did some investigating.  Worms don’t have noses but they do have chemical receptors in their skin which can pick up smell!  You can read more about chemoreceptors in composting worms.  You can learn a lot by watching composting worms eating cantaloupe.

 

Ladybug Life Cycle

Ladybug Life CycleWhat is the ladybug life cycle?  I asked this question after I got this great photo of two ladybugs mating.  I was so happy to see the ladybugs on my lettuce because aphids were attacking my lettuce.  Ladybugs and their larvae love to eat aphids.  Once I saw them on the lettuce leaves I started to look for eggs and larvae.  I was very interested in seeing the actual ladybug eggs and larvae.

Ladybug Eggs on Back of Leaf

After some searching I found some lady bug eggs!  There weren’t very many–a ladybug can actually lay many more than this but it is also normal to just lay a few.  Ladybugs are from the Coccinellidae family of small beetles.  They can be found worldwide.  The eggs will hatch in a few days producing a larva that doesn’t look anything like a ladybug.

Know the Ladybug Life Cycle!

Ladybug Larva on Back of LettuceIt is important to know what a ladybug larva looks like so you don’t kill it thinking it is some garden pest.  The ladybug mother chooses a place to lay her eggs where there is food.  So because I had aphids on my lettuce, the ladybug mother decided that my lettuce would make a good home for her eggs.  When the eggs hatched into larvae they would have plenty to eat.

After a few weeks the larva transform into a pupa.  There they will metamorphasize into an adult ladybug and the cycle will start over again.  Insect Lore sells a Ladybug Land kit
to grow ladybugs so that children can watch the whole interesting process.

Here are some ladybug freebies for teachers to use.

Here is a great video showing a ladybug laying eggs. Thanks to Matty7D for the video:

Lastly here is a link to a video on the ladybug life cycle.