EEK! It’s almost Halloween, and Orkin sponsored this really cool project for my kids and I to do to learn more about creepy crawlies.
We checked out The Orkin Ecologist page for some inspiration for a science project to do for fun while we’re here at Randolph Air Force Base, and the cricket article on that page caught our attention. Especially since we had seen probably thousands of huge cave crickets in the Caverns of Sonora recently. Definitely check out Orkin’s site if you love science. There are simple articles for younger entymologists, and more in-depth information for the more experienced bug lovers.
We could’ve done a lot of complicated experiments to learn about crickets, but I wanted to keep it simple due to our limited space and resources… so we just mainly observed them for a few days, listened to the sounds they make, and watched to see what foods they liked best out of what we offered them.
During our next library visit, we looked at the insect section in the kids’ library area and found this great book all about crickets and grasshoppers. Of course we checked it out and read it together. I do wish we had found it earlier, because it had a lot of good ideas for how to make a better cricket home, and experiements to do to learn more about crickets’ social behaviors, color preferences, and more. It’s really a great book, with lots of information without being too tough for little kids to understand.
What we learned:
- We gave the crickets grapes, mushrooms, and sugar snap peas to eat, and a sponge full of water to drink. I saw them on the grapes most often out of the food choices, but Anneliese swears they liked the sugar snap peas the best.
- Crickets use their wings and sometimes legs to “sing,” unlike people and most animals, who use their voices. And they’re LOUD. But only the guys sing… the lady crickets are quiet. We must have had a LOT of boy crickets.
- Crickets are stinkier than you’d think. A lot stinkier.
- If you order live insects while you live in temporary housing in a military base, you might get in trouble. The post office was VERY SUSPICIOUS and sent my husband an email instructing him to come to the office to answer some serious questions. Oops…
- Crickets like to be alone to rest if they can. Some of ours tried to hide in the skeletons’ rib cages and pelvises. If we kept them longer we would have needed to track down some egg cartons for them to hide in. (We eat tons of eggs but the ones we’ve been buying here have clear cartons, not opaque. No good for cricket privacy.)
- Female crickets have a special spike coming out of their abdomen, called an ovipositor, for laying eggs.
The crickets also inspired some observational art by Anneliese, which I absolutely loved. The cricket in the picture is to the left of her drawing of herself (bottom right), and the triangular part with the circles on either side is the head with eyes. It’s standing on two legs, has two legs outstretched like arms waiting for a hug, and two legs crossed in front of its body. So so cool.
Want to win a $100 gift card (AMEX or VISA, to spend on whatever you want) from Orkin?
Just pin this post, making sure to include the hashtag #EEKologist. You can also get extra entries a couple of other ways, too.