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After weeks of waiting and watching, we were able to release our insects this week! Our butterflies and ladybugs have been released into the garden and I think it is safe to say that one can assume the insects were as happy as the children to be free.
You might remember that our insects started out like this:
We ordered our ladybug larvae and Painted Lady Butterfly caterpillars from Insect Lore. I had originally purchased a Ladybug Land and Butterfly Garden from Amazon a few years go. I kept forgetting to order the insects, but this year I actually remembered and we were set for an insect adventure!
We've watched them grow over the weeks (you can read all of our insect related posts here) and it has been fun to have them in the homeschool room with us. The ladybugs have been adults for about a week now, scurrying around Ladybug Land enjoying the flowers the kids have been giving them.
Over the weekend the butterflies emerged from their cocoons. It was a bit surprising to us to see the red liquid that came with that (it is totally normal, but certainly looks alarming). This is actually metabolic waste leftover from their metamorphosis and it comes out of their abdomens.
We watched the butterflies for a few days and then we released them, along with their ladybug friends.
I was a bit worried that the kids might be sad to let our insects go, but we talked quite a bit over the weeks about where butterflies and ladybugs normally live (i.e. not in the house) and the kids handled the release well.
All in all, this was a super fun and neat experiment for all of us. We really enjoyed getting to observe our insects up close and to watch the cycle of their growth.
I think this is one activity we'll be doing again and again in the coming years. There's even talk of praying mantis next.