Ladybirds (Ladybugs) are one of the most famous and recognisable bugs out of the millions of species on our planet. Children love them, and are often fascinated by their beautiful colours. Since ladybirds are readily available in most yards, you can easily catch them and observe them. You can place your ladybird guests in a purchased bug house, or you could make your own out of an old oatmeal container.
Things you need
- Oatmeal container
- Paper towel
- Spray paint
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Fine wire mesh screen
Empty the contents of a large, round oatmeal container. Use a damp paper towel to clean the inside of the container and the lid, wiping way the crumbs and fine powder oatmeal can leave behind. Use a second clean, dry paper towel to dry the inside of the container and the lid.
Spray the outside and lid of the container with white spray paint. If you prefer to paint it by hand, use white acrylic. This will create a blank canvas for you to decorate. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
Decorate the outside and lid of the container. You can use markers, stickers, acrylic paints or anything you can think of. Use a utility knife to cut four small windows around the circumference of the container. Each window should be about an inch tall and wide and should be approximately 35 to 50 mm (1 1/2 to 2 inches) from the bottom of the box. You can add more if you desire or add an additional row of them to create a second story.
Use a utility knife to cut a small door along the bottom of the container as well. It should be approximately 50 to 60 mm (2 to 2 1/2 inches) tall.
Measure the circumference and height of your box with a flexible tape measure. Add one inch to the circumference. Cut a piece of fine wire mesh screening which you can purchase at your local hardware store. Roll the screening into the cylindrical shape that is the measurements of the container. Use a stapler to secure it to itself. The edges should overlap 25 mm (1 inch) and the staples should be inserted on the overlapping.
Insert the mesh screen into your container. This will keep the bugs from escaping. Trim the mesh screen if it stick out over the top. To do this, use a pair of heavy duty scissors.
Add a small amount of grass to the bottom of the container. Fold a paper towel into fourths. Get the it damp and place it at the bottom of the house for water. Do not soak the paper towel or it will destroy the cardboard bottom. Add a few raisins for the ladybirds to eat. Add several ladybirds and place the lid on top. Release them after a day or two.
Tips and warnings
- Catching ladybirds is easy to do. Since they are not afraid of other bugs eating them, they do not tend to startle when you reach for them. Simply pick up the ladybirds with your fingers and place them in their temporary home.
- This home can also be used to house other insects when it is not housing ladybirds.
- You should not keep your ladybirds for more than two days. They will need to eat and will not be able to do so in the ladybird house. Although they have raisins to munch on, they normally eat aphids and other insects and will need more nourishment than the raisins provide.
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