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Did you know? Gardens usually have more insect inhabitants than plants, yep its true!
We have some fun ideas to get your kids (and students) outdoors to teach them about all walks of life and hone their observation skills by going on an insect safari to uncover the secret lives of bugs.
Activity: Hunt for insects in the garden and determine if they are beneficial or harmful to their plants.
Age range: 5-12 years
There are millions of known species of insects in the world. Some are known 'pests' that can cause damage or harm and others get a bad reputation, when really they can be beneficial for your garden.
It's important to know that insects often play unseen but very important roles in our ecosystems. Some provide us with obvious benefits such as useful products like honey from bees and silk from silkworms. Others, like ladybugs and lacewings, offer protection from pest insects through predation and parasitism. Then there are the important pollinators of our food crops (about 35% of our food crops depend on insect pollinators such as bees). Even the not so glamorous bugs such as blowflies and dung beetles have a role in the decomposition of organic materials.
Insects that benefit our gardens, whether they help control pest insects, reduce plant diseases or pollinate flowers, are known as beneficial insects. They are very important and fascinating to study.
Warning: Be sure to tell the kids not to touch any of the insects they find, particularly spiders.