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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My little "cocoon"

Being a good mom, I tried to give my children lots of opportunities to learn about their world.  We'd explore beaches, forests, parks, anywhere and everywhere and look for and identify plants, insects and other living things.  The kids would bring home shells, flowers, rocks and whatever else caught their interest.  That was all fine and good...until that ONE time...

While getting ready to move from Pennsylvania to Arizona, I found (what looked like) a cocoon firmly attached to a twig of a tree.  (I am NOT an entomologist!) Thinking that it would be interesting for the kids to watch the butterfly emerge from its cocoon, I snapped off the twig and brought it home for the kids.  We put it in a glass mason jar, stuck lots of holes in the lid and set it on the kitchen counter.

About a week later we moved cross country; my husband, 5 young children, and one carefully protected little mason jar containing my "cocoon".  We arrived at my mother-in-law's home and I gently put my jar on the dresser in the bedroom we were going to use while we were looking for a home of our own.

Being busy with little kids, a strange environment and trying to get settled in a new area, I admit to forgetting about the jar on the dresser until I woke up one morning and noticed that there was a large number of very tiny insects all over our room.  It didn't take me long to find the little jar.  Crawling out of the lid and all over the room were hundreds of tiny praying mantis'!  I had transported an ootheca (that's the fancy name of the protective capsule containing the mantis' eggs) from Pennsylvania to Arizona.  I have no idea if I had just introduced a insect species that would upset the fragile balance of nature in Phoenix, AZ or if they all just died out but I sure worked hard to get them out of my mother-in-laws!

Lesson learned...whatever nifty thing you or your children find outside, don't bring it in the house and try to find out what it is BEFORE you get unpleasantly surprised!

Oh, and if my mother-in-law is reading this..."I'm sorry I let praying mantis' hatch in your room."  :)


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