Bug safari Encore: an activity for children of all ages. A couple of weeks ago in an activity called, Bug Safari, children learned that there were both good and bad bugs living in their garden or parks. With this activity, children will learn to look closely for leaf damage while looking for insects, often allowing them to recognize and associate the damage made with the insect who made it.
- For younger children (ages 4-8): If desired, re-read the book Bug Safari by Bob Barner.
- For older children (ages 8-12): Study a resource about good and bad bugs. You can find one online called, The Bug Book: A Garden Field Guide by Southside Community Land Trust or a book called, Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically by Jessica Walliser.
- After learning about the different bugs and the damage they can cause to leaves, determine which ones are common in your area by going on safari through your garden (or park). Look closely at the leaves for signs of bug damage. The signs of damage vary based upon the mouthparts of the insect. Insects with chewing mouthparts create holes or bites in the leaves and small brown or yellow dots scattered over the leaf’s surface are signs of piercing or sucking from insects. Pest insects can be classified based on the damage they cause. Please use caution if handling insects as many of them will bite!
- If leaf damage was found without an insect present, based on the findings, guess what type of insect caused it.
- Investigate each insect found more thoroughly. Document each insect on a separate page or make identification cards for each bug containing all pertinent information, including the type of damage made to the leaf. If a page or card was already made after the last safari, include any additional information on this card.
- If you find bad bugs, manage them organically (as instructed per the resources above) and keep notes on what you did and if it solved the problem on each insects’ separate page or card.
- Slide these pages in protectors and place them in the garden notebook for reference. If cards were made, laminate or cover the card with clear self-sticking shelf paper and then trim around the edges of the card. Punch a hole in the top left corner and keep together with the metal ring or ribbon. Simply add more cards to your guide as desired.