Hello Only Passionate Curiosity readers! My name is Lindsey, I’m a homesteading, homeschooling Mama to 2 little ones, with one more on the way, and I blog about simple natural living over at Chickadee Homestead. And I am thrilled to be here with y’all today! Thanks for having me, Heather!
My oldest will be starting kindergarten this Fall and we are excited to (officially) embark on the adventure of homeschooling. I like to make learning fun, natural, and interweave it into our everyday lives on our homestead – and this project is a great example of that. So let’s get started!
Ladybugs and Organic Gardening
I love to involve my kids in the garden as much as possible. Even though it’s not very big, they love to go on little walk abouts in the garden – checking on plant growth, looking for pests, and harvesting veggies! A request I often hear is “Mama, let’s go check on the garden”. They love watering too – but thanks to our new mulching method we can pretty much rely on the rain fall!
One thing we often talk about is bugs. Good bugs and bad bugs. And even at 4 and 3, these little gardeners know the difference. And one of their favorite good bugs are Ladybugs.
Ladybugs are a type of beetle, and they eat all sorts of nasty pests in the garden – like aphids, scales, and mites. So we all get very excited when we see Ladybugs in the garden! They are natures pest control, and they are great at it.
Inviting Ladybugs to Stay
With my girls’ natural fascination with ladybugs, I thought it would be fun for us to build a ladybug house and order some ladybugs to release in the garden (these are the ones I bought). You need to be careful when releasing them though – do it at dawn or dusk, and if you want them to stay in your garden, build them a house and most importantly – wait to order them until you see some pests for them to eat. If they have no natural food source, they will just leave.
Which for our purposes, wasn’t a big deal, as this was mainly for my kids to have a fun learning experience in the garden.
Building a Ladybug House
Handymen around the world will cringe at my building techniques (my husband literally couldn’t watch , hee hee!), but the goal here was simplicity! And this is simple and easy. Oh! And cheap too. But if you want to you can easily replace my hot glue gun technique with wood glue and some clamps 😉
1 – 2’x3”x1/4” wood board (board 1) (I got mine at the hardware store for about $2)
1 – 2’x2”x1/4” wood board (board 2)
Bamboo (various sizes)
Hot Glue Gun
- Gather your supplies.
- Cut your boards (or have them cut for you at the hardware store) to the following lengths and sand any rough edges:
- Board 1A. 12” B. 12″
- Board 2C. 12” , D. 3”, E. 4″
- Hot glue time! Glue A and B to C (as shown), and then glue D to make the bottom, and E to make the roof.
- Paint! We decided to let the ladybugs be our inspiration and painted it red with black polka dots – but you can be as creative as you like here – I doubt the ladybugs will care 😉
- Let it dry.
- Glue a twine loop onto the back of the house for easy hanging.
- Cut Bamboo into 2” long pieces (you’ll need a lot! probably four 6 foot bamboo sticks)
- Fill the house with bamboo sticks – after completing this project I highly recommend putting some glue on the back of the house to help keep these sticks secure….don’t ask me how I know, ehem…
- Keep filling!
- Now you’re ready for the Ladybugs!
Releasing the Ladybugs
Once the house was done being built, we released the ladybugs at dusk – we just cut open the little bag they came in and let them out right on top of the bamboo. They went right in!
And then we moved the Ladybug house to it’s rightful place in the garden and released the rest of the Ladybugs directly into the garden.
The girls had SUCH a great time doing this. They thought it was the absolute best thing ever.
I hope you and you’re kids have just as much fun with this garden project as we did!
I decided to make this an informal unit study, so we went to the library and borrowed a bunch of books on ladybugs to read throughout the week while waiting for the ladybugs to arrive. Here are some of our favorites:
Ladybugs by Gail Gibbons : This had great information on the ladybugs lifecycle, anatomy, and their impact in gardens. My kids loved it!
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle: Don’t leave out the little ones! If you have toddlers and preschoolers, this one is always fun. And it does show Ladybugs eating aphids in the garden.
The Ladybug and Other Insects a First Discovery Book: This one we didn’t use, as I didn’t find it in our library, but it looks like it would be a great one for the older kids in the family! Especially if you have an insect lover 😉
Lindsey is a modern homesteader and homeschooling Mama of two. Together with her family she lives in North Florida on 1/3 of an acre where they garden, raise chickens and turkeys, do lots of DIY, make a ton from scratch – and include natural learning experiences along the way. She’s passionate about simple, natural living, and shares those passions on her blog, Chickadee Homestead. Find her on Pinterest and Instagram.