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Superstars and Circus Performers: A Bug Hunt For Your Kids (page 2)

— Parents' Choice Foundation
Updated on Apr 26, 2011

Super Stars and Circus Performers

Some bugs and insects have special talents that put them in a class all their own. Look for these talented tricksters on your bug hunt.

Special Effects – The Firefly

For dazzling special effects, the firefly tops the list. This amazing creature literally lights up the summer sky with her pyrotechnics!

Technically, she’s a beetle, not a fly. If you meet her by day, she appears to be an ordinary striped creature with not much in the way of special talents. But at night she steals the show as she flashes out pulsing light, sending off signals to attract a mate.

Singing CricketThe Singing Weathermen – A Cricket Chorus

If you live near grass and trees, chances are you’ve heard many free concerts performed by a chorus of chirping crickets. The chorus performs nightly in summer, changing its tempo to match the temperature. The hotter the weather, the faster it sings.

Amazingly, you can calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit degrees by counting the chirps crickets make in 14 seconds, and then adding 42. The result is incredibly accurate!

A Circus Clown – Introducing the Click Beetle

If you come across a click beetle in your backyard, you’re in for a treat. These clownish creatures, with two false eyes on their backs, have a circus-style trick they can perform, with a little help from a friend like you.

Gently pick up the beetle, who is a perfectly nice creature who will not hurt you in any way. Then, lay it down again, on its back, and step back to give him room to do his trick. The beetle will slowly bend in the middle. Then – pow! It will pop straight up into the air, letting out a loud “click” as it does. Like a true professional, the click beetle will land on its feet, ready for applause.

Military Might – The Bombardier Beetle

You may have a piece of living field artillery walking around in your backyard. It’s a small, tan and orange beetle with pretty, blue-black wings. Don’t let these delicate looks deceive you. This beetle is armed and dangerous! It’s got a fully functioning, retractable cannon in its rear end, and it will use it if it has to!

If an enemy approaches, such as a small twig held by you which gently taps the creature, the bombardier beetle will rear up and fire off his bomb of caustic chemicals, with a pop and a puff of blue smoke! Look, but don’t touch! The bomb can actually burn your hand.

Lucky Charms – House Crickets

Some crickets, called house crickets, or hearth crickets, seem to prefer living indoors to out. Throughout the ages, people have said that meeting up with such a cricket will bring on a spell of good luck.

Do you have a house cricket living in your house or backyard? If you find one, test out the ancient belief about bringing good luck. Watch for lucky occurrences in the week after you come across the cricket. You never know …

Bring the Learning to Life

This activity and many more ideas for backyard fun appear in Boredom Busters, The Curious Kids' Activity Book by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell, published by Williamson Books.

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