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October 22nd 2013
archived under: Anneliese, Crafts, Family Life, Giveaways, Joseph, No BlogHer Ads

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Orkin Ecologist for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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.

Before long, we were ordering a cricket box from Amazon, live crickets from Fluker Farms, and buying cricket-sized Halloween decor from the Exchange on base.

Haunted Cricket House Project

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.

cricket and grasshopper project

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.

 
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Laurie (1 comments)

The Halloween article about bats.




suzie (7 comments)

How to make a butterfly. .build me up to the big things like crickets…lol




Randi (1 comments)

I would have to pick one that want to crepy for me. Maybe the butterflies or crickets.




Thomas Murphy (2 comments)

I want to do the butterfly garden.




Amanda Sakovitz (8 comments)

The How to Make a Butterfly Garden seems beautiful. I love butterflies and this would be a lot of fun!




Harmony B (2 comments)

The Monarch Butterfly




Susan B (1 comments)

The butterfly garden sounds like a fun learning craft to do with my kids.




emma (3 comments)

I would build a giant spider web. Olive really likes bugs so I’m sure she would enjoy the cricket thing.. but I feel like she finds enough bugs on her own anyways, ha!




Anna (1 comments)

My kids are currently obsessed with butterflies. I’m now off to convince my husband that we should do a butterfly garden!




Stacey B (2 comments)

the how to make a butterfly garden would be a big hit in our home




Leidy (2 comments)

The How to Build a giant spider web might just be our next project. I think my kids would like it, seems fun and very easy to make




Kim Henrichs (2 comments)

I think the Ambush of a Questing Tick because I live in tick country!!! It would be a great project with plenty of local info to work with.




Jennifer (9 comments)

Doing a butterfly garden would be SO fun! My littles would love that.




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Rebecca Parsons (2 comments)

I like the idea of building a giant spider web. So neat and perfect time of year for it.




KelLi (8 comments)

We are so interested in bees so definitely the one about pollinators!




Melissa (5 comments)

Definitely something bee related! Honey bees are so cool and underrated. :)




Tabathia B (41 comments)

Definitely a bird eating spider




M. Shealy (4 comments)

I would love to have a butterfly garden, so the article on the site that caught my eye was on that topic. :)




D Schmidt (1 comments)

I think we would create a project based on Stink Bugs On The Rise In The U.S.




Sara Floyd (1 comments)

I would like to do a project on grasshoppers




Meghan (4 comments)

I am all about the pollinators! I have a mason bee house that I look forward to putting out as a fun project with my daughter next year. We hope this will have them frequenting our vegetable and flower gardens!




SIOBHAN (2 comments)

I cringe at most incest, so butterflies would probably be my pick!




SIOBHAN (2 comments)

wow…just looked back at my post and realized I said incest instead of insects! lol…although I would probably still cringe at incest! LOL




Lisa Brown (2 comments)

i think the article: A Closer Look Into The World Of Pollinators would inspire project, bees a great.




Amy Orvin (2 comments)

I think it would be great to build a giant spider web




Bobbi (4 comments)

Ian is really into spiders.




Meagan (10 comments)

I think we would try the “build a giant spider web.” Eisley is super interested in spider webs right now with all the different kinds of web decorations for halloween.




DB (2 comments)

I personally don’t like bugs that jump. I prefer to be able to predict where they are going to be, lol! However, with two boys in the house, and maybe with the ability to keep a LID on them (the bugs, I mean, lol), this project could bea hit in our home!




Jessie C. (32 comments)

How one entomologist used grasshoppers to help solve a murder is one inspiring article for the project.




Melissa (4 comments)

My kids would LOVE a cricket experiment! I think we could go more in depth, as mine are older though.




Amber (10 comments)

Crickets creep me out. But Logan would LOVE this. He is obsessed with all things creepy and crawling. WE currently have 4
frog habitats” he made in the backyard.




Danielle Meredith (1 comments)

Thank you for the contest and the new ideas for getting my girls involved in learning about bugs, up to this point they have thought bugs were gross and slimy :)




Katie (1 comments)

Thanks for the contest and fun read! I’ve always enjoyed the “inner workings” of bugs (we had many ant farms growing up) so I think I’d probably really enjoy doing this cricket one too!




Becky (4 comments)

This was a cool idea! My boys would love it.




Nicole Rickabaugh (2 comments)

Crickets smell awful! I feel like Emalyn would absolutely love this though!




Ashley Catron (2 comments)

I would definitely try the same experiment as you did (: I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old, so studying crickets would be really fascinating, except my oldest is petrified of any bug she sees lol




Stephanie (4 comments)

They really are stinky! I’ve owned lizards before and yo u definitely needed to hide these stinky guys!






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