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tight lid, and place a piece of gauze over the top of the third container, using the rubber band to hold it in place.

Journal Notes

Do the pieces of meat look or smell any different after one hour? One day? One week? Write descriptions of each piece of meat every day, and include when you first notice any insects on each piece of meat.

Do any changes affect all three pieces of meat?

What caused the changes?

What did Francesco see? He noticed flies landed on the meat in the open bottle, and flies landed on the gauze covering the second bottle.

Place all three containers outside in an area where insects can get to them, but animals like gs, cats, or raccoons can't.

No flies visited the meat in the bottle with the lid. Several days later, the meat left in the open was covered with maggots. The piece covered with gauze had just a few maggots. The piece in the closed bottle had nothing on it. After many more days, the maggots changed into flies.

Francesco had found his answer. He spread the word that flies didn't start from the meat itself, but came from other flies that visited the meat and laid eggs. Did your results match Francesco's?

Complete Metamorphosis

Most insects, including butterflies, bees, beetles, ants, fleas, flies, and wasps, go through the process of complete metamorphosis. These insects change so much between the egg and adult stages that it is hard to believe they are really the same animals.

It starts when a female lays an egg. Most eggs are laid on or near the type of food the young eat.When the insect hatches, it usually looks like a soft worm and is called a first instar larva.

Butterfly and moth larvae = caterpillars Legless fly larvae = maggots Beetle and bee larvae = grubs

Larval Instars



Larval Instars



Almost immediately, the larva starts eating and growing. Although the skin is soft, it can only stretch so far. Once the larva has grown too large for its skin, it molts, shedding its skin. Now it is a second instar larva. It eats and grows some more. Depending on the insect, there are usually between five and seven instars.

After the final instar, the larva moves to a protected area and pupates (PYOO-pates). Some insects, like butterflies and moths, spin a silken cocoon around themselves as protection during their pupation. Flies keep their next-to-the-last-shed skin on their bodies. As it dries, it forms a hard case. Beetles, ants, and bees pupate looking a bit like mummified adults. The pupal stage can last a few weeks, a few months, or even years! During pupation, the insect doesn't move around on the outside, but its insides are

To view a computer-animated version of the complete metamorphosis of a butterfly, go to: www.bijlmakers.com/ entomology/metamorphosis.htm.

Make a Connection

To view a computer-animated version of the complete metamorphosis of a butterfly, go to: www.bijlmakers.com/ entomology/metamorphosis.htm.

going topsy-turvy.The body tissues dissolve and reorganize: growing legs, forming wings, developing compound eggs, adding hard shells, changing mouthparts. When the

Metamorphic Records

Here are some amazing metamorphic examples.

• To take advantage of temporary pools of water, mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in as little as eight days.

• When droughts dry up the soils in Africa, the midge larvae dry up as well. They can survive dehydration adult insect finally emerges, it will not grow or change any more. In fact, some adult insects don't even have mouths that work, so they can't eat. The main job for adult insects is to find mates so that new eggs can be laid and the cycle can start all over again.

for three or more years, waiting for soaking rains to restart their metamorphosis.

One species of periodical cicada spends 17 years as a nymph underground.

Living in the Arctic means that caterpillars are active for only a few weeks each summer. This causes some moths to live 14

years as a caterpillar before spinning a cocoon.

Woodboring beetles have emerged as adults 10 to 26 years after the wood they were living in was used for walls, floors, doors, and stairway handrails.

One hundred eighty yucca moths emerged from their cocoons 16 to 17 years after they first spun them.

Me, ealworms are one of the easiest animals to raise 'from egg to adult to egg again. Mealworms earned their name because they are often found in containers of cornmeal and cereal. In nature, they can be found under rocks or the bark of rotting logs. If you don't want to go on a mealworm hunt through your house or backyard, you can pick some up at a pet store where they sell them as food for reptiles and amphibians.


A clear shoe box or food keeper with a lid Oatmeal or bran cereal Potato, carrot or apple slices Mealworms

Fine-tip permanent markers of various colors Ruler

Poke a lot of small holes in the lid of the box. Spread an inch or

Raising Mealw°rms oatmeal oatmeal

apple potato black paper apple potato black paper two of oatmeal or bran cereal on the bottom to provide food for both the larvae and adults. Since these insects get their water from the food they eat, add a slice of potato, carrot, or apple. Be sure to replace these every few days so you don't grow mold instead of mealworms! Add the mealworms to the box.

The larvae will be more active if you keep them in a warm (between 70° to 80°F [52° to 62°C]), dark place, but light and cooler temperatures will not hurt them. In nature, it can take nine months or more for mealworms to complete a life cycle. In your box, it will probably take only between 76 and 136 days. Mealworms hatch from their eggs after about six to 14 days, grow and molt as larvae for 60 to 120 days, pupate for about 10 days, and finally emerge as adult darkling beetles. Use fine tip permanent markers to make a small dot or two on mealworm eggs and larvae. For example, eggs laid on July 7 might have one orange dot while eggs laid on July 9

Here is my color code:

might have one orange dot and one blue dot. Record your color code in your journal to help you keep track of the development of each egg and larva.

Journal Notes

Here is my color code:

How long did each stage last?

How long (in inches or centimeters) is each instar larva?

How many instars does a mealworm go through?

What color is the adult when it first emerges from the pupa? What color is it after one hour? One day?

When you have finished studying the mealworms, you can feed the eggs, larvae, and adults to the fish, frogs, and turtles at a local pond.

Simple Metamorphosis

Several familiar insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, dragon-flies, cicadas, and box elder bugs undergo simple (sometimes called incomplete) metamorphosis. Some of these insects change only a little; others change a lot. What they have in common is that they never have a resting period of pupation; instead they change as they grow.There are several different types of simple metamorphosis.

A young grasshopper hatches out of an egg and is called a nymph. It looks a lot like a mature grasshopper, except it is smaller and has short wing stubs. It eats and eats and eats.When it gets too big for its skin, it molts, leaving the old skin behind. The wings develop a bit more with each molt. After about six molts, it is an adult. It cannot grow or shed its skin anymore, but it continues to eat the same plant food and lives in the same habitat.

Nymphs (Instars)


Nymphs (Instars)


A dragonfly hatches underwater as short, squat, gill-breathing naiad with simple eyes. For the next two or three years, as it eats small aquatic animals, grows, and molts, its body is changing inside. Before its final molt, it climbs out of the water and onto a plant stem. As it sheds its last skin, it emerges with a long slender body, limp, wet wings, and huge compound eyes. After its wings have stretched, dried, and hardened, the adult dragonfly flies off in search of a mosquito—or another flying insect— for dinner, and leaves behind its watery home.

I inding and raising insects

I_from their eggs is a great

_L way to learn more about metamorphosis.You can look for eggs almost any time of the year. Look on the underside of leaves, under rocks and rotting logs, floating on top of still water, or attached to underwater plants.


Clear containers

Damp paper towel or sponge

Jar lid

Do not pick up any insect egg by itself. Gently scoop it up with some of the surrounding soil, plant, or water, and place it in a clear container. Place a damp paper towel or sponge on a jar lid inside the container with any eggs that are not already in water. It is best to keep the eggs in a

safe place outside.You don't want to accidentally release a swarm of hungry, biting larvae in your house! And insect eggs found in the fall or winter might need to

Journal Notes

Where did you find the eggs?

Were there any adult insects around?

be exposed to cold temperatures in order to develop. Check on the eggs every day and note what happens.

How long did it take for the eggs to hatch?

Can you identify the larvae?

Real Entomologists

Forensic entomologists use insect metamorphosis to help solve crimes. When forensic entomologists examine a dead body, they look for signs of insects. It is very hard to identify different types of fly and beetle eggs, larvae, shed skins and pupae, or tell how old they are, so forensic entomologists take samples back to their laboratories. They tend the eggs, feed the larvae, or watch the pupae until the adult insects emerge. After identifying them, they use their knowledge of metamorphosis to figure out when the eggs were first laid. By looking at how long each stage lasted, then counting backward, forensic entomologists get valuable clues on how long the body had been dead.

Crop specialists use their knowledge of metamorphosis to control

pest insects. Many caterpillars eat plants. Too many caterpillars in a garden or farm can reduce the amount of food that plants can produce. One way to control the caterpillars is to release wasps which lay their eggs inside the caterpillars. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the insides of the caterpillar, then burrow outside to pupate.

Veterinarians need to know about metamorphosis to help sick animals. Horse bot flies lay eggs on horses' legs and shoulders. When horses lick their fur, they swallow the eggs. The eggs hatch inside the horse where the larvae feed and grow until they are ready to pupate. Then they let go and get passed out with the poop. Too many larvae inside a horse can make it very sick.

Praying mantises enclose their eggs in a case of froth, then leave them to last through the winter.

Gross Entomology:

What's for Dinner, Mom?

In one species of gall gnats, the mother gnat might not lay eggs. Instead, she produces female larvae inside her body. These daughters eat the insides of their own mother, then crawl out of her empty body. After these larvae molt (and are now second instar larvae), they all produce even more female larvae inside their own bodies, get eaten alive by their daughters, and then die when the daughters crawl out. This can happen several more times before one generation of the larvae don't produce any more daughters inside their bodies, but finally pupate and become true adults.

This tobacco hornworm is covered with pupal cases of braconid wasps. Robert L. Anderson, USDA Forest Service. Image 1748031. www.ipmimages.org


index cards Scissors Pen


Cut the index cards in half so that you have 4 2V2-by-3-inch (6.3-by-7.6-cm) cards.Write the following actions based on insect metamorphosis, one to a card.

Place all four cards (including the blank one) into the envelope for safekeeping until you are ready to create your Insectigations! game.

• A wasp is looking to lay its eggs on a larva. Roll any insect die. If you roll an insect with a land-based larva, go back to start.

You finished your final molt. Roll the thorax die. If you are a grasshopper, jump ahead 3 spaces.

A car just hit a squirrel. If a roll of any insect die shows you are a fly or beetle, take an extra turn.

After searching for insect eggs or attracting their parents, and watching the young grow and change, you now know what insects look like when they are immature and mature. But how did those flies find the meat in the spontaneous generation jar? Find out through the following sense-sational experiments and activities.



'he fly buzzing around the kitchen has landed near your sandwich. As it walks toward your plate, you slowly creep toward it, flyswatter raised overhead. Just as you swing the swatter down, it darts away. Then it comes back to buzz around your head before flying off.You wonder, how did the fly find your food, and how did it know you were about ready to swat it? Get ready to find out as you test how well you smell and if you see like a bee.


While some fleas are blind and must use their senses of smell and heat detection to find their food, some dragonfies have 23,000 lenses in each eye and can spot a mosquito flying near a pond. Just like with people, being able to see isn't everything, but it sure helps when you want to find food, escape enemies, and find each other!

Insects have two kinds of eyes, simple and compound.The simple eyes are called ocelli. Some larvae have up to six ocelli, while many adult insects have between one and three.You can usually find ocelli on an adult on the top of the head in-between the antennae.These eyes are sensitive to light but cannot see images. Ocelli help insects keep their balance and fly up, down, and around corners without going upside down or on their sides.

It is the compound eyes that see things.They are called compound eyes because each eye is made of between two and 23,000 lenses. Each lens sees a slightly different image and sends that information to eight special cells called

What a fly sees.

Wrong photoreceptors (FO-to-re-SEP-ters).These photoreceptors send the information to the brain, where all the images get put together to create a picture.

But most insects are nearsighted—their eyes only focus on things that are close by. Even then, the picture is fuzzy.With all those lenses, why does an insect's brain create a fuzzy picture? Although it has more lenses than we do, there are only 24,000 photoreceptors in the housefly's whole eye.There

What a fly sees.

are around five million photoreceptors in just the middle part of a human's eye.

No problem—most insects don't need to see small details. What they really need to see is motion. Your two eyes can only look in one direction at a time. But insects with big eyes and a lot of lenses can see almost all the way around their bodies, which is why it is so hard to sneak up on them.

Real Entomologists

Although insects may see fuzzy pictures, they are very good at avoiding things (like your flyswatter). Engineers are using insect eyes as models for creating computer eyes that can be put in robotic planes. They want the planes to be able to fly without running into things.

]oint of View t At

1/1 / ith two working eyes, you 1/ 1/ have two lenses.These » " two lenses are about 2.5 inches (6.25 cm) apart at the pupils. This small distance means that each eye sees things just a little bit differently.The difference is enough to give you depth perception, that is, visual clues as to how close or distant an object is, and how fast it is moving.

To see how this works, make your hand into the shape of an "o." Stretch your arm out, and with both eyes open, look through the o at something in the distance.Without moving your hand, close one eye. Is the target still visible? Now open that eye and close the other eye. Is the target still visible?

The eye that saw the target through your o is your dominant eye. Cover this eye and try to play catch with a soft ball. What happens?

Journal Notes

Playing catch using my nondominant eye was_

Journal Notes

. eye is dominant.

Playing catch using my nondominant eye was_

Not only do insects see fuzzy pictures, many are what we call colorblind.This doesn't mean they see everything in black and white. Colorblind means that some colors look the same as each other. In one form of colorblindness, violet, lavender, pink, and blue all appear as blue to the viewer. How the colors appear can also change depending on whether the viewer is in bright sunlight or in foggy conditions.



Red, blue, green, yellow, pink, purple, and brown construction paper A manila file folder or other lightweight cardboard 1 4-by-6-inch (10-by-15.25-cm)

piece of green cellophane Tape Pen

Cut one 3-inch (7.5 cm) square of each color out of construction paper and put aside. Keeping the file folder folded, cut it in half.Then cut a 3-by-5-inch (7.6-by-12.7-cm) rectangle through both layers of one half. Open the folder, cover one of the rectangles with the green cellophane and tape it in place. Close the folder and tape the edges together to make a viewer.

Shuffle the construction paper cards, then hold the colored viewer in front of your eyes and look at the cards one at a time.

Use the pen to write down the color you see on the card. After you have looked at all the cards, lower the viewer.

tape green cellophane tape green cellophane


Journal Notes

When I looked through the green viewer, this is what I saw:

Actual Color

What I Saw





Purple tape


Repeat the experiment outside on a bright sunny or foggy day, and with a viewer using red cellophane instead of green. Also look at the grass, leaves, and especially flowers!

Butterflies can see red, but honeybees can't, and they both can see yellow, blue, and even ultraviolet, which we can't see. Without color to confuse them, insects pay more attention to other clues, like shapes and movements.

Training Bees

%/ ou can test the vision abili-■ ties of bees, butterflies, and other nectar eaters by providing food for them in this simple experiment.


5 plain index cards Black marker

5 clear zippered plastic bags 5 shallow dishes

the order of cards and dishes, keeping the sugar water with the same pattern and watch what happens. Then keep the sugar water in the same place, but change the pattern that is near it. Finally, try the experiment again using plain colored cards instead of cards with symbols.

Journal Notes

Make a Connection

To see if you are colorblind, visit www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/ lshihara.html. This page has seven large circles. Each circle is filled with bubbles of different colors. One set of colored bubbles in each circle makes the shape of a number. Place your colored viewer over the circles. Does it affect your ability to see the numbers?

34 cup (59 ml) sugar Spoon

Plain colored index cards

Draw the following shapes, one on each card: triangle, cross, stripes, star, and circle. Make sure you color the shapes in so they are solid, not just an outline. Find a large flat space like a picnic table or driveway in a sunny, calm area that won't be disturbed for several days. Put each card in a clear, zip pered bag so that dew or a water spill won't hurt it. Place a shallow dish near each symbol. Pour plain water into four of the dishes. Pour the sugar into % cup (177ml) very hot water (be sure to ask for an adult's help with this) and stir until it dissolves. Pour the sugar solution into the fifth dish.Watch the dishes for several days, until you are confident the insects know which bowl has sugar water. Change

How long did it take for bees or other insects to find the \nr~ sugar water?

Were they confused when you changed the order of the dishes and cards?

Were they confused when you changed the pattern that was near the sugar water?

What happened when you used colored cards instead of patterned cards?

Did all insects (butterflies, flies, bees, beetles) react the same?

Make a Connection

To see what some patterns look like to a honeybee, visit http://cvs.anu.edu.au/andy/ beye/beyehome.html. If you can imagine what it would look like if you pasted a large flower onto a basketball, then let some of the air out, you have a good idea of how a honeybee sees!

Lightning bugs (also known as fireflies) are familiar beetles that light up the summer nights with their flickering flashes. It is the males who fly around flashing. They are looking for a female who is perched on a plant to flash back. The way lightning beetles tell each other apart is by the code they flash. Some do three short flashes in a row, others might do one short flash followed by a long flash as they fly up, making a "J." Success to a firefly means finding the same kind of beetle.This is easier than it sounds. Some types of fireflies

Make a Connection

Some beekeepers rent out hives to farmers for crop pollination. If a bee tries to enter the wrong hive, guard bees will chase it out or even kill it. To help the bees find their own hives when they are in a new area, beekeepers can attach a simple shape, a colored patch, or a combination of the two near the entrance door.

Some beekeepers rent out hives to farmers for crop pollination. If a bee tries to enter the wrong hive, guard bees will chase it out or even kill it. To help the bees find their own hives when they are in a new area, beekeepers can attach a simple shape, a colored patch, or a combination of the two near the entrance door.

copy the codes of others. But if the male lands near a female who is not the same kind as he is, she may eat him!

The next time you are out catching lightning beetles, challenge yourself to see if you can find a male (flying) and female

(resting on a plant) of the same species. How good are you at deciphering their code?


Have you ever noticed how quickly flies find food? It doesn't matter if it is your picnic lunch in a park or an animal hit by a car, flies are often the first insect on the scene. How do they do it?

Because of their exoskeletons, insects have "noses" on the surface of their bodies.This helps make them more sensitive to smells. Most insects can detect smells with their antennae, but some, like flies and butterflies, use their feet!

Jean Henri Fabre was an entomologist interested in insect behavior. One summer, after watching a female peacock moth emerge from its cocoon, he put the large insect in a wire cage. That night, dozens of male peacock moths came flying in through open windows. He

Gross Entomology: Maggots as Medicine

Flies are very sensitive to the smell of meat. Many female flies like to lay their eggs on meat to provide food for their babies. During past wars when many people were wounded, it could take several days for all the injured soldiers to be found and taken to a doctor. Since the soldiers were lying outside, sometimes the doctors found maggots inside the wounds. After some time, the doctors noticed that the soldiers who had maggots in their wounds recovered faster than

the soldiers who did not. They studied what was happening and discovered that the maggots only ate the dead flesh, helping to clean the wounds. Not only that, but the maggots produced a chemical called allantoin, which helped the wounds heal faster. Look at the ingredients lists of hand and suntan lotions, antiperspirants and deodorants, toothpastes, and soaps. Do you have any allantoin in your house?

wondered how the male moths knew where the female moth was.To find out, he shaved a patch of fur off their abdomens so he could recognize returning moths. He clipped the antennae off some of the male moths. He turned off the lanterns. He also put the female in a new place each day for the next eight days. He put her in a closet. He put her in a drawer. He put her in a hatbox.

The only times no male moths came near her was when she was someplace where the air couldn't get out. Although the first female moth died before he found an answer, he didn't stop experi menting. After many more experiments, he concluded that some insects create their own smells (later called pheromones) to use in communication. People might not be able to smell the pheromones (FER-a-mon), but male moths with their large, feathery antennae needed only a few parts per million to find the female.

t At

1/1 / hen female insects release 1/ 1/ pheromones (a chemical smell) to attract a mate, the antennae on the males often have more branches to help them pick up the scent.The male emperor moth has the most acute sense of smell in the animal kingdom. It can detect one molecule of pheromone from 6.8 miles away. How good are your senses of smell and taste?


10 clear cups Pen or marker Red juice Spoon Water

Number the clear cups 1 through 10. Put ten spoonfuls of juice in cup #1. Put nine spoonfuls of water in cups #2 through #10.Take one spoonful ofjuice from cup #1 and put it in cup


#2. Mix it well.Take one spoon ful of liquid from cup #2 and put it in cup #3. After mixing it well, take one spoonful of liquid from cup #3 and put it in cup #4. Repeat this pattern until you have taken one spoonful of liquid from #9 and added it to #10.

Cup #1 has all juice. In cup #2, you have 1 part of juice in 10 parts of liquid. As you mix the juice with water, you are diluting it, having less and less in each next cup. By the time you get to cup #6, you have only one part of juice in one million parts of water. In cup #10, you have one part juice in one billion parts of water.

Journal Notes

The last cup I can smell the juice in is cup #_.

The last cup I can taste the juice in is cup # ___ .

Real Entomologists

If forest trees start to look bare in the middle of summer, scientists try to figure out why. To see if the problem is caused by too many gypsy moth caterpillars eating the green leaves, scientists use pheromones to lure male gypsy moths into traps. Biologists count how many male moths they catch, then use that number to estimate how many moths are in the area. If they decide there are too many moths, they might consider using an insect spray to try to kill them.

The inside of this trap is coated with sticky papers and gypsy moth pheromone.

If you were an insect sensitive to juice, you might be able to still taste or smell it in cups #8 (100 parts per billion) and #9 (10 parts per billion).

The inside of this trap is coated with sticky papers and gypsy moth pheromone.

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Bee Keeping

Bee Keeping

Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?

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