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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Lacewing Insect Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Lacewing Insect @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Lacewing Insect Study


Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 356-358(Lesson #86) in the Handbook of Nature Study.  You may wish to also read about aphids as part of this study which is Lesson #84 in the Handbook of Nature Study.
  • View this Youtube video: Green lacewing.
  • Lacewing Life Cycle: Read about and then draw the life cycle of the green lacewing in your nature journal. This will help you prepare for your insect hunt when you go outdoors. The images at this link are clickable and will enlarge for you to see better. This link has amazing images: Green Lacewing.
  • Advanced study: Learn about the beneficial aspects of having lacewings in your garden: Youtube-Lacewings. Here is a printable information sheet about lacewings: Beneficial Insects-Lacewings.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • One way to attract these insects is to leave your porch light on and watch for visitors. Lacewings are slow flyers so it may be possible to catch one with your hands if you do it carefully. Place the insect in a viewing jar. If you observe a lacewing, use the ideas from the Handbook of Nature Study to take a closer look.
  • Go on an insect hunt! Use the ideas from the Insect Study Grid found in the ebook or in the September 2012 Newsletter to create some excitement about your nature study this week. Print out the grid and take it with you! Mark off the squares as you complete them. This can also be a more long term project, finishing the grid during subsequent nature walks.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Create a nature journal entry for the lacewing or any other insect you found interesting this week. Keep it simple: sketch, date, caption. There is a notebook page in the ebook for you to use.
  • Advanced study: Conduct additional research on the insect order– neuroptera. Use a field guide and complete two additional nature journal entries for insects in this order found in your local area. You can use this notebook page for your information.
  • Advanced study: If you are interested in learning to draw insects like a true naturalist, you will want to watch this YouTube Video: John Muir Laws  – Drawing Insects.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library
If you want to purchase the Summer Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Summer Nature Study Continues – New Ebook announcement page for more details.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Nature Study Continues ebook

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Insects – Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

Field Guides I have Used With My Family

Please note the above links are Amazon affiliate links to books I own and love!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Insect Nature Study Challenges Index @handbookofnaturestudy
NOTE: If the challenge is included an ebook, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have an Ultimate Membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

Ants – Spring ebook



Black Swallowtail – Spring Nature Study Continues


Caddisfly and Caddis worm – Summer Nature Study Continues

Cockroach – Autumn 2015

Crickets – Summer ebook and another cricket study

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Fireflies – Summer ebook

Gall Dwellers – More Nature Study Winter

Grasshoppers – Summer ebook


Insect Printables

Insect Study with Bug’s Eye View Printable

Katydids – Summer ebook

Lacewing – Summer Nature Study Continues coming soon


Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers – More Nature Study Autumn

Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer

Moths – Summer ebook and another moth study

Mosquitoes – Summer ebook

Mud Daubers – More Nature Study Summer

Winter Insects – Winter Wednesday ebook

Yellow Jackets – More Nature Study Summer

Newsletters With a Insect Theme (If you have a membership, you have access to all archived newsletters.)
  • September 2012 – Insect study grid. Ant study. Lesson plans for insect and spider study.
  • April 2014 – Making a bug hotel.
  • June 2016 – Insect Wing Study notebook page. Insect nature study and nature journal ideas.
  • September 2016 – Insect home study ideas. Gall dweller nature study. Insect study grid. Insect coloring page.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge #26 Ladybugs and Aphids

This week we will be taking time to read about and look for two different insects that seem to go hand in hand. I know in our garden if I see a ladybug, I will many times, if I look carefully, see some aphids too. Aphids are pretty small but if you get out your hand lens you may find you can see these insects in your flower garden. Look under the leaves.

“Aphids seem to be born to serve as food for other creatures-they are simply little machines for making sap into honeydew, which they produce from the alimentary canal for the delectation of ants; they are, in fact, merely little animated drops of sap on legs.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 352

Wow, that pretty much spells it out. I know that I have read somewhere that ants actually “farm” the aphids and “milk” them for food.

Here are some aphids that I photographed way back last fall. These are rose leaves from my yard and they were really eating them up.

Here are the same aphids above along with an ant so you can compare the size.

Ladybugs are always a welcome sight in our garden and I have learned over the years how beneficial they are.

“The ladybird is a beetle. Its young are very different from the adult in appearance, and feed upon plant lice.”

Have fun this week and remember your overall focus is on insects so if you don’t see any ladybugs and aphids, post your blog entry about what insects you did discover. I look at these challenges as a way to make a community of families who are interested in nature. We all learn from each other. Believe it or not, I feel as if I learn just as much from all your posts as I do from doing the research to come up with the challenges.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #26
Focus on Insects-Ladybugs and Aphids

1. This week read about ladybugs and aphids in the Handbook of Nature Study, pages 364-366 and pages 351-354. Remember our focus right now is on insects so if you don’t find either of these insects to observe, you can always look for other insects to study. If you do your reading, you will be prepared when you next come across these insects.

You may be interested in reading my entry on Red Aphids. 

2. Your 15-20 minutes of outdoor time this week can be spent looking for insects. I know it is still very hot for most of us but if you get out early, even before breakfast, you might be able to enjoy the morning air and a few insects too.

3. Give the opportunity for a nature journal entry. If you need ideas for alternative nature journal activities, please see challenge 2 and challenge 3. You might want to draw the ladybug life cycle or show how ants benefit from aphids by providing them with food. Encourage your child to draw something that interested them from your nature time. When my children were young, I considered a drawing, a date, and a label as a successful nature journal.

Make sure to pull out the Handbook of Nature Study to see if any insects you find are listed and you can read more about it there. If you are keeping a running list of insects you have observed during this focus period, add the insect’s name to the list.

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Red Aphids

Now that we are focusing on insects, it seems we find them everywhere we look. This morning we were out on the deck looking at the flowers and look what we found right under our noses!

These little red guys are just crawling all over the chrysanthemums.

These red aphids I believe are Goldenglow aphids.
Dactynotus rudbeckiaeHere is what Anna Botsford Comstock says on page 295 about insects, “The abundance of insects makes it easy to study them. They can be found where-ever man can live, and at all seasons. This abundance is even greater than is commonly supposed. The number of individuals in a single species is beyond computation; who can count the aphids or the scale-insects in a single orchard, or the bees in a single meadow?”

Indeed, after taking a look at these aphids on my chrysanthemum, I can only agree. We are just scratching the surface in really “seeing” all the insects around us everyday.