Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lady Bug Party: Meeting Thirteen

Now that we're finally done with our second bridging it looks like I finally have time to come back and try to finish blogging about our first year.  Now I know why now one does this in detail.  It takes too much time! 

 I'm going to do my best to remember what we did last year and, hopefully, I can finish our first year before I have to start planning our third.  I'm going to try to be more brief to get through more quickly, though God knows brief does not come easily to me.

Daisy Scout Meeting Thirteen

Lady Bug Party!
Third Week in April

Goals and Badges:

This was an extended meeting for the girls to work on their Garden Journey, specifically the Honey Bee Award.   This was the meeting where we ordered live Ladybugs for the girls to release into the neighborhood to eat all the icky aphids.  They also planted more quickly growing plants for our vegetable garden.  
There was also a small tie in to our "Using Resources Wisely" Green Petal during this session with the girls bringing in a recycled container.

Honey the Honey Bee

Note on various journey awards: The Daisy Garden Journey Handbook is actually rather confusing as to how to work through the various steps.  Our interpretation was that they suggested two projects to do as part of the second step, the Honey Bee Award; either ladybugs or worm composting.  Then we were to do another, more community based project for the Amazing Daisy Award.  You might interpret the book differently.  No one claims the Journey books to be well written.  I think our version turned out to be great fun, but it required a lot of creativity to make it so.

Excerpt from Daisy Garden Journey Handbook

Note on schedule: You will see two schedules below.  The first is the one we planned on and that I had really hoped to use.  The entire event was scheduled later than usual in the day so that the ladybugs could be released at dusk.  Apparently Ladybugs don't fly in the dark and releasing them in the late evening helps them hang around and make your garden their home.  

Unfortunately, my plans were thwarted by the rain.  It was only drizzling when the girls arrived so we swapped the whole schedule and did the Ladybugs first.  I still think the first schedule would have worked better.


                      Arrival: Gathering - 1- Prepare plants
                                                                2- Decorate shaker

                     5:55 Daisy Circle- Promise/Hello in French (Africa)

                                                           Water team garden

                     6:10 Plant cucumber/squash

                     6:20 Read Chapter 4

                                 Smell plants
                                 Pictures of aphids

                      6:35 Learn Ladybug Song and Dance

                      7:00 Make Ladybug houses

                      7:15 Gather stuff for houses/ Ladybug facts

                      7:30 Release Ladybugs/Collect

                      7:45 Home


 Rain Plans (AKA what we had to do on short notice)

                       Arrival: Make Ladybug houses

                       5:55 Daisy Circle-

                                    Promise/Hello in French (Africa)
                                    Ladybug facts

                       6:05 Gather stuff for houses/Release Ladybugs/Collect

                       6:20 Ladybug Movie

                       6:30  1- Prepare plants

                                  2- Decorate shaker

                       6:45 Read Chapter 4

                                  Smell plants
                                  Pictures of aphids

                       7:15 Plant cucumber/squash

                       7:25 Learn Ladybug Song and Dance

                       7:45 Home


Gathering:  Make Ladybug Houses

All the girls were asked to bring a recycled container to make a ladybug house (I had grand ideas that I would give the girls ladybugs and the ladybugs would breed and lay eggs so the girls could see the ladybug life cycle.  It didn't happen).  The jars/tupperware etc were a tie in to the "Use Resources Wisely" Petal that we were also doing this month.  We asked that parents to punch holes in the tops of any jars with a hammer and nail before they sent them in.

The craft room was laid out with various foam sheets and stickers as well as sharpies.  The girls also brought sticks, rocks and leaves that they gathered after school (and before the storm) to put in their houses. We also had enough dandelions that they all got at least one since apparently ladybugs eat Dandelion pollen.  

Beyond that we let the creativity flow.


Making the ladybug homes

Sharing stuff we found outside

Examples of homes

Daisy Circle
In the Daisy Circle we recited the Girl Scout Promise and then went around the circle saying hello in French. (This is something that is part of the Journey Handbook.  I really don't understand what it has to do with anything.  Its supposed to relate to where the various flowers originate, but it seems a stretch).

After that we talked about ladybugs.  I had given each girl a ladybug fact at the end of the Tea Party.  They were each supposed to learn their fact and present in the circle.  My girls did very well and were very proud of their facts.  I figured this was more a more interesting way of presenting the information than me or my co-leader lecturing at them.  

Facts sheet I used:

Nursery Rhyme History:

Many believe this began in England as a warning to ladybugs crawling on old hop vines. After the hops were harvested, the vines were burned to clear the fields. The adult ladybugs could fly away, the larva could crawl away, but the pupae could not leave the burning plants.

Ladybug ladybug fly away home,

Your house in on fire and your children are gone,
All except one and that's little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan.

• In the past, doctors would mash ladybugs and put them in your mouth to cure a toothache.

• In Switzerland, ladybugs are called good God's little fairy.
• You can fit 80,000 ladybugs into a gallon jug.
• Male ladybugs are smaller than female ladybugs.
• Ladybugs are the official state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Tennessee.
• They can live for as many as three years.
• A ladybug beats its wings 85 times per second when it flies.
• Their spots fade as they get older.
• The spotted wing covers on ladybugs are made from a material called chitin, the same as our fingernails.
Ladybugs grow from larvae to an adult in 2-3 weeks.
As Larva ladybugs look like little alligators.
Their spots appear about 12 hours after hatching.
A ladybug will eat 5,000 aphids in their lifetime.
When ladybugs sense danger, they roll over and play dead.

 I cut the 8 most interesting and least disturbing facts to give the girls (I'm pretty sure I skipped the one where they grinded them into toothpaste.  Yich!)  
I presented about the nursery rhyme, which I thought was cool, but a little lengthy.

Live Lady Bugs

It's actually a lot easier to get live Ladybugs than you would think.   Just order them from Amazon for about $15 with shipping, then put the whole box (smaller than a shoebox) in the refrigerator to keep them hibernating until you are ready to release them.

Amazon Ladybugs we used

There are all sorts of instructions and tricks to keep the ladybugs from flying away immediately after releasing them.  Letting them go at night, spraying them with sugar water to glue their wings closed, and spraying the bushes with a solution for them to feed on are a few.  I did all these things and the ladybugs were still completely gone in two days.  I think the problem was that at the end of April I had no aphids for them to eat. 

So do those things or don't, I doubt the ladybugs will hang around unless you release them somewhere that is infested with lots and lots of food for them. But really, it was cool and exciting for the girls even if the bugs had "flown away home" in a few days.  And I suppose the ladybugs flew off to eat someone else's pesky bugs and still helped the environment, right?

Ladybugs Release

Originally, I had wanted to release the ladybugs behind my house in the common area so that it would be more for the community, but since it was already starting to drizzle and there was a storm brewing we released the majority of the ladybugs in my front garden onto the rose bushes (where I usually get an aphid problem).  

The ladybugs came in a mesh bag with powder that could be mixed to form "Nature's Elixir" to feed the bugs.  We sprayed this mixture into the mesh bag, then on the rose bushes (though who knows how long before it washed away with the rain).  After, I cut the bag and sprinkled a few bugs into each of the girls' "Houses."  I think they wound up getting about 10 each.  The ladybugs were pretty small.

Cutting open the ladybug bag
Delivering ladybugs to their new homes.

Rain's a comin'
One girl already had a bug home. 

We had a big sheet of mesh fabric that we cut into pieces and fit between the top and bottom of the houses so the ladybugs wouldn't climb out of the air holes.  

Another mom handed out the mesh.  It was thin enough that you can barely see it in the picture.

By then it was really starting to rain and we hurried the girls inside, while I gently laid the bag in a bush and allowed the rest of the bugs to climb out on their own.  

Ladybugs crawling out onto my bush.
Close up.  (This is a real picture.  Not taken off the internet.)

What you need for live ladybug project with Houses:
1.  Live ladybugs (ordered online)
2.  Spray bottle to mix food in if the ladybugs come with that or to spray the bush with water (if it isn't raining)
3.  Jars or other recycled containers
4.  Stuff to decorate jars
5.  Mesh fabric

Ladybug Movie

As we were cleaning up and getting ready for the next project we had a quick movie for the girls to watch online about the life cycle of ladybugs.  I still had hopes the bugs would breed in captivity at that point.  

Ladybug Lifecycle Video

Lady Bug Shaker Project
I came up with this as a fun craft to along with our ladybug theme and that we could also to use at our end of the year show.  It was inspired by something I did with my kids as toddlers in Gymboree.


1.  Red plastic or paper disposable bowls (I got them in the party section of the dollar store)
2.  Dry kidney beans
3.  Black pipe cleaners
4.  Hot glue gun
5.  Black sharpies (enough for each girl to have one)

Steps (The girls made these assembly line fashion):

1.  Grab two bowls, move down the line, measure out a half cup of beans and put them inside.
2.  Gab a pipe cleaner and fold it in half.  Twist it into antenna.
3.  Bring both bowels to an adult (me) to hot glue the sides together. (I've since let them hot glue on their own, but not at this young age of 6/7).
4.  Move on to the table to draw on spots and eyes.  
5.  Ready to shake (but not too violently or they will break).

Finished product with song (I'll post lyrics later in this blog).

Story and Snack Time

After making the Ladybug Shakers we gathered for story and snack.  My co-leader read Chapter 4 of the journey book.  It's a rather long and hefty chapter so we tried to stop and talk about things here and there.  When they talked about the plant smells I brought around some of the plants we were growing and had them smell the unique scent of tomato plants, paper plants, and marigolds.  I also had pictures of ladybugs and aphids to pass around.

Chapter 4

I also remember that we had a pretty significant snack since it was such a long meeting, though for the life of me I can't really remember what we had.  I know I made ladybugs out of apples and grapes, but I'm pretty sure we had other things as well.

I think this is close to what we did, but with a grape for the head and half grapes for legs.

This also looks a bit like what we did too, only I never would have used raisins.  My daughter hates raisins.  

I just found this one using carmel instead of peanut butter for the troops with peanut allergies.

After the story we reviewed the songs that we had already learned, like Planting Time and the Amazing Daisy Song.

Plant Cucumber, Squash, Beans and Peas

Next we went into the craft room to plant the vegetables for our garden that would have grown much too big if we had planted them the month before.  At this point, we had two weeks until we were planting them in the garden out back.  

We used the same methods we used for the tomato and pepper plants.  For those who don't remember (or didn't read that blog), the plan was to harvest the vegetables over the summer and give them to a local food bank for our Amazing Daisy project.  We used seed starter pellets that the girls poured water on while they were standing in line to make their shakers.  By the time we were ready to plant the pellets had expanded to peat pods.  Then each girl got 8 starter pods to plant 2 each of peas, bush green or yellow beans, cucumber, green or yellow squash.  Each peat pod got two seeds.

The girls were really good at this by now and really enjoy planting.  These plants grow very fast and I posted the following pictures online so they could see the progress over the next week.  

Day 3 Bean Plants

Day 3 Pea Plant with Cucumber in the background.
Day 3 Cucumber and Squash.

Day 6 Plants

Day 6 Cucumber and Squash

Day 6 Beans and Peas

Ladybug Song and Dance

The Ladybug song that we learned was from Girl Scouts Volume 11:Amazing Daisies.  I've talked about it before.  The CD is $9.99 on amazon or you can get the song for $0.99 on itunes.  

You can listen to a clip and get the music here:

Amazing Daisy CD

We made up the dance using the shakers.  This was the one song during the final show that we played on the cd player instead of having the girls sing it acapella.   Here's the lyrics plus the movements we used:

Lady Bug 

By Melinda Caroll

There is a little lady bug who likes to visits me. 

(Hold up shaker in one hand and point to self with other)
From time to time, we'll make a rhyme while we're sipping tea.
(Hold shaker on palm of the hand like a saucer and pretend to drink hot tea)


My little Lady Bug, Lady Bug, tell me where you’ve been!
My little Lady Bug, Lady Bug, thanks for dropping in!
(Dance two steps right, shake shaker right, dance two steps left, shake shaker left repeat)

 There is a little lady bug who sits upon my shoe.

(Balance shaker on feet)
 And when I go to pick her up she always says ahh-choo!
(Go to pick up shaker and mime sneeze)


There is a little lady bug who sits upon my nose.

(Tip head back and put shaker on nose, hold with two hands)
 And when I go to pick her up she dances on her toes!
(Bring both hand over head like a ballerina and turn in a circle on toes)


There is a little lady bug who lays among the flowers.

(Hold shaker in one hand and pantomime a flower with other)
 And when I go to pick her up she smiles for hours and hours!
(Use fingers to show a big smile on the girls face)


There is a little lady bug who snuggles in my bed.

(Hug shaker close)
 But I can never wake her up, she’s such a sleepyhead!
(pretend to sleep with shaker as pillow.)




For homework we asked the girls to the pages 61 - 65 in The Daisy Flower Garden Journey Book.

Page 61

Page 62 & 63

Page 64 & 65

Afterward on ladybugs:

The Ladybugs didn't survive very well in their recycled homes, despite the dandelions.  I am proud to say that everyone of my girls, independently, decided to release their ladybugs within the first three days.