As the weather begins to cool off, there are several bugs and insects that begin to swarm as they look for warmer places to be. How many of these have you seen in or around your playground?
- Wooly bear caterpillars are the fuzzy black caterpillars with a brown band. These caterpillars hibernate under logs, wrapped in their cocoons. During the fall, these caterpillars are a common sight, eating as much food as they can before they go to sleep.
- Ladybugs also hibernate, and look for places to huddle together such as roots of grass. During the fall, they can be seen in swarms on the sunny side of buildings, in order to get warm. They also slip into cracks in buildings, seeking warmth.
- The brown marmorated stink bug is another invader. These bugs have not been around long – they were not introduced to the US until around 1998! They’re trying to find warm, cozy places to hide – like your classroom! They also swarm on the sunny side of buildings, like ladybugs. They don’t bite, sting, or carry disease, but they sure do smell! They don’t let off their signature stench until they’re afraid or being messed with, which can make trying to get them out of the classroom a stinky situation.
- Harvestmen, often commonly referred to as daddy long-legs, are out this time of year, looking for places to lay their eggs. These spindly creatures are not spiders, and are not harmful to people or animals. They will sometimes huddle together in masses, which can be a creepy sight to see.
None of these creatures are dangerous, and can be gently released back outside. Don’t forget to take a notebook outside with you and draw a picture of some of these Autumn Swarmers!
Add a bench to your outdoor classroom so children can observe insects and other living things in their natural environment! Check out our Half Slab Log Bench as a natural addition to your outdoor play space:
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