Our annual Ladybug Habitat is one of my favorite activities for kids, year after year. Kids learn about insects by observing them first hand. They practice compassion while caring for their ladybug friends and eventually releasing them into the wild. They gain an appreciation for our natural world – and it’s just plain fun.
In this post, I’ll show you how to make a Ladybug Habitat for your family to enjoy.
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How to Make a Ladybug Habitat
To make your ladybug habitat you’ll need:
- Ladybugs. You can purchase them at your local garden store.
- A home for your ladybugs. Purchase this Butterfly Garden for a simple and secure home for ladybugs. Or, make something from what you have on hand! Whatever you use, make sure there is plenty of airflow and that the habitat is tightly sealed.
- Leaves, twigs, and other plant materials your ladybugs may enjoy climbing on or nibbling. Select a variety of plant matter and observe what the Ladybugs like the most. If you find aphids in the garden, put them in the habitat as well.
Setting Up Your Lady Bug Habitat
- When you get home with your ladybugs, place them in the fridge for a couple of hours. Don’t worry, a little cold won’t hurt them. It will just slow them down and make it much easier to get them into the habitat!
- In the meantime, put some leaves and fresh plant matter in your ladybug home.
- Soak a few raisins in a dish of water.
- When the Ladybugs are nice and cool, gently pour them into their home. There is usually a cotton ball attached to the lid of the Ladybug container. If so, place the lid in the habitat. The cotton ball is soaked in food the Ladybugs.
- Add the soaked raisins to the habitat and fasten the lid.
Caring for the Ladybugs
This activity is a great opportunity to teach children respect for living things – no matter how small. Care for the ladybugs together, modeling compassion and gentleness.
Do the following on a daily basis, preferably in the early morning or evening when the Ladybugs are inactive.
- Give the ladybugs freshly soaked raisins.
- Put some fresh plant matter in their cage.
- Provide water for your ladybugs. I like to use an eye dropper to drop little bits of water onto the Butterfly Garden.
Observing the Ladybugs
The Ladybugs will take a little while to wake up. Keep an eye on them throughout the day. When are they active? When do they rest? Do they all have spots? What do they like to do?
Take notes about your observations together. Make some time to observe the Ladybugs each day.
Learn More About Ladybugs
To further support your child’s learning, check out both fiction and non-fiction books about Ladybugs at your local library. Read and learn about Ladybugs while they are in your home.
- Ladybugs have sticky feet to help them climb.
- There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world and they come in a few different colors.
- Ladybugs can beat their wings 85 times per second.
- As they age, a ladybug’s spots will fade.
- Ladybug larvae resemble tiny alligators.
Releasing the Ladybugs
After a week or so, choose a time to release the Ladybugs. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon work best. Water the garden to encourage them to stick around before you open the habitat.
Enjoy watching the Ladybugs crawl and fly free. Demonstrate how to invite a ladybug to crawl on your finger, rather than pinching to pick one up. While handling the Ladybugs, keep in mind that, while they are usually quite gentle and do not have poison glands, they can bite if provoked.
In the days that follow, remember to take a good look around your yard. You may find some of the Ladybugs have stayed nearby to help you fend off garden pests!
Creating a Ladybug Habitat is a simple, fun activity with many learning opportunities for young children. I hope you enjoy making one with your family.