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Title: An Elementary Study of Insects
Author: Haseman, Leonard
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Elementary Study of Insects" ***

[Illustration: The Toad may be rough and warty in appearance but worth
its weight in gold as a destroyer of insect pests. Note the expression
of satisfaction after a successful night of foraging for cutworms and

                      AN ELEMENTARY
                        STUDY OF


                     LEONARD HASEMAN

 _Professor of Entomology in the University of Missouri_

                   Columbia, Missouri
                  MISSOURI BOOK COMPANY



     (1) What they are.
     (2) Their principal characteristics.
     (3) Their methods of developing.
     (4) The principal orders.
     (5) Their habits.
     (6) Their role in agriculture.

     (1) Directions for collecting.
     (2) Pinning and preserving a collection.
     (3) Rearing and observing them while alive.

     (1) Brief discussion of the grasshopper.
     (2) Field studies.
     (3) Breeding cage observations.
     (4) Study of specimen.

     (1) Discussion of the life cycle of the fly, its habits, danger
         from it and how it can be stamped out.
     (2) Study of the fly and its work.

     (1) Brief discussion of the life habits and stages of the mosquito.
     (2) Observations and study.

     (1) Brief discussion of the caterpillar, the chrysalis, the
         butterfly, and its work.
     (2) Observations and study.
     (3) Breeding work.

     (1) Brief discussion of the different stages of the pest, its work
         and remedies for its control.
     (2) Observations and breeding work.

     (1) Brief discussion of stages, work and habits.
     (2) Study and observation.

     (1) Brief discussion of the insect.
     (2) Observations and studies.

     (1) Discussion of the insect as a pest and its habits and stages.
     (2) Observations and studies.

     (1) Brief discussion of the pest.
     (2) Observations and studies.

     (1) Brief discussion of habits and appearance of the lady-beetles,
         and their value as friends.
     (2) Observations and studies.

     (1) Discussion of life and habits of insect.
     (2) Observations and field studies.

     (1) Discussion of habits, injury and control of pest.
     (2) Observations and field studies.

     (1) Discussion of habits, injury and control of pest.
     (2) Observations and field studies.

     (1) Discussion of the honey bee as to habits in its home and
         outdoors, its value to man and the colony as a village.
     (2) Observations and studies.

     (1) Discussion of ant life and behavior, the colony as a unit, its
         work and remarkable instincts.
     (2) Studies and observations.


In the preparation of a book of this nature, to be used in the grade
schools, we realize that the one fundamental thing to keep in mind is
the economic importance of the insect, be it good or bad. The child
wants to know what is good and what is bad and how he can make use of
the good and how he can get rid of the bad. And yet there is something
more associated with the life, work and development of each tiny insect.
There is a story--a story of growth, not unlike that of the developing
child, a story of courage, strife and ultimate success or failure, which
is as interesting and of greater value to the child than many of the
stories of adventure and of historical facts. Snatches of these stories
will appear in the following chapters along with the studies on insects
and their economic importance.

In the development of our grade school system, especially in the rural
districts, there is a growing demand for some practical work along with
the regular cultural studies. To the child in the rural schools,
practical knowledge naturally tends toward agriculture. Many of these
boys and girls do not have a chance to pursue studies beyond the grades
and it therefore becomes necessary to introduce some elementary
agriculture into the grades to supply the natural craving of this vast
assemblage of children in the rural schools of our land.

In the search for a study which will give unlimited scope for
independent thought and observation and which will lead the child to
understand better the forces of nature that affect agriculture, nothing
is so readily available and attractive to the child as nature study, an
elementary study of the natural sciences. In fact agriculture is
primarily a course in nature study where we study how plants and animals
struggle for existence.

There is a period in the life of every child when he is especially
susceptible to the "call of the fields;" when he roams through woods or
by shady brooks gathering flowers, fishing for mud-cats and cleaning out
bumble-bees' nests. It is often compared with the life of the savage and
is merely the outward expression of an inward craving for a closer
relation with nature and her creatures. If one can reach a child while
at that age he has a ready listener and an apt pupil. That is the time
to guide and instruct the child along the line of nature study.

The most important questions confronting the average teacher in the
grade schools are: "What material shall I use and how shall I proceed to
direct the child along this line?" First of all use that material which
is most readily available, which is most familiar to the child and
which will attract and hold his attention. There is nothing so readily
available and so generally interesting to both boys and girls as are the
thousands of fluttering, buzzing, hopping and creeping forms of insects.
They are present everywhere, in all seasons and are known to every child
of the city or farm. They are easily observed in the field and can be
kept in confinement for study. Many of them are of the greatest
importance to man; a study of them becomes of special value.

In pursuing a study of nature and her creatures one should go into the
woods and fields as much as possible and study them where they are
found. In this way one can determine how they live together, what they
feed on and the various other questions which the inquisitive mind of a
healthy child will ask. When field work is not possible, gather the
insects and keep them alive in jars where they can be fed and observed.
Some forms cannot be kept in confinement and in such cases samples
should be killed and pinned, thereby forming a collection for study.

Most of the forms which are included in the following chapters can be
kept in confinement in glass jars or studies out doors. The studies have
been made so general that in case the particular form mentioned is not
available any closely related form can be used. Each child should make a
small collection of living and pinned insects for study and should be
encouraged to observe insects and their work in the field. The
collections and many of the observations could be made to good advantage
during the summer vacation when the insects are most abundant and

Pupils should not be encouraged merely to make observations, but they
should be required to record them as well. Brief descriptions of the
appearance and development of insects, the injury they do, and remedies
for the same, will help fix in mind facts which otherwise might soon be
forgotten. Drawings, whenever possible, should also be required. The
pupil who can record observations accurately with drawings will not soon
forget them. The teacher should therefore require each pupil to provide
himself with a note-book for keeping brief, but accurate notes and
careful drawings. The drawings should be made with a hard lead pencil on
un-ruled paper, the size of the note-book, and the pupils should be
encouraged to be neat and accurate.

The author wishes to take this opportunity of expressing his deep
appreciation for the many helpful suggestions and other assistance which
Mr. R. H. Emberson, superintendent of Boys and Girls Club Work in
Missouri, has given. It was his life-long devotion to the boys and girls
of the grade schools and his keen appreciation of their needs that lead
him first to suggest to the author the importance of preparing this
little book for their use.

                                        LEONARD HASEMAN
 University of Missouri.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_The study of entomology is one of the most fascinating of
    pursuits. It takes its votaries into the treasure-houses of Nature,
    and explains some of the wonderful series of links which form the
    great chain of creation. It lays open before us another world, of
    which we have been hitherto unconscious, and shows us that the
    tiniest insect, so small perhaps that the unaided eye can scarcely
    see it, has its work to do in the world, and does it._"

                                        --REV. J. G. WOOD.



    "_There is a difference between a grub and a butterfly; yet your
    butterfly was a grub._"


In undertaking a study of insects it is well first of all to know
something about what they are, their general nature, appearance, habits
and development. The insects comprise the largest group of animals on
the globe. There are about four times as many different kinds of insects
as all other kinds of animals combined. Insects vary greatly in size.
Some are as large as small birds, while others are so small that a
thousand placed in one pile would not equal the size of a pea.

Insects are commonly spoken of as "bugs." This term, however, is
properly used only when referring to the one order of insects which
includes the sap and blood-sucking insects such as the chinch bug,
bed-bug, squash bug, and the like. Then too, there are many so-called
"bugs" which are not insects at all. Spiders, thousand-legs, crawfishes
and even earth-worms are often spoken of as bugs.

_What They Are_

[Illustration: Side view of grasshopper with wings and legs partly
removed. Note the division of the body into head, thorax, composed of
prothorax, mesothorax and metathorax, and abdomen consisting of
ring-like segments.]

Insects are variously formed, but as a rule the mature ones have three
and only three pairs of legs, one pair of feelers, one pair of large
eyes, and one or two pairs of wings. The body is divided into a head,
thorax and abdomen. The head bears the eyes, feelers and mouth, the
thorax bears the legs and wings, and the abdomen is made up of a number
of segments. The presence of wings at once decides whether or not it is
an insect, for, aside from bats and birds, insects alone have true
wings. These are the distinguishing characters of the full grown insect,
but, like birds, they hatch from eggs and while young do not always look
like their parents. When young they may take on various shapes as
caterpillars, borers, maggots, grubs, hoppers, and the like. Young
insects are often difficult to distinguish from true worms, centipedes,
snails, and such forms, but after one has collected and reared some of
the young and watched them pass through the different stages and emerge
with wings they are much more easily recognized.

_Their Principal Characteristics_

[Illustration: Face of grasshopper enlarged showing parts; ant.,
antenna; eye, compound eye; oc., ocellus or simple eye; cl., clypeus;
lbr., labrum or upper lip; mx. p., maxillary palpus; lb. p., labial
palpus; lab., labium or lower lip.]

Young insects as a rule are soft like caterpillars and maggots, while
the old ones usually have a hard body wall, similar to the beetles and
wasps. The wings are usually thin and transparent though in some cases
they are leathery or hard as in case of beetles or covered with scales
as in the butterflies. The three pairs of legs are jointed and used for
running, climbing, jumping, swimming, digging or grasping. The feelers
or antennae are usually threadlike, clubbed, or resemble a feather and
extend forward or sidewise from the head. The large eyes are compound,
being made up of many great small units which, when magnified, resemble
honey-comb. In some cases two or three small bead-like eyes may be
present besides the two large eyes. The mouth parts of insects may be
formed for chewing, as in the grasshopper, or for sucking up liquids, as
in the mosquito. The mouth of an insect is built on an entirely
different plan from our own. Chewing insects have an upper and lower lip
and between these there are two pairs of grinding jaws. These jaws are
hinged at the side of the face and when chewing they come together from
either side so as to meet in the middle of the mouth. They therefore
work sidewise rather than up and down. The mouth parts of the sucking
insects are drawn out to form a sucking tube or proboscis as in case of
the butterfly or mosquito.

[Illustration: Mouth parts of grasshopper shown in relative position;
lbr., labrum; md., mandibles; hyp., hypopharynx; max., maxillae; lab.,

[Illustration: Leg of grasshopper showing segmentation. The basal
segment c, is the coxa, the next t, the trochanter, the large segment f,
the femur, the long slender one ti, the tibia, and the three jointed
tarsus ta, with claws at the tip.]

The internal organs of insects are similar to those of other animals.
The digestive tube consists of oesophagus, gizzard, or stomach, and
intestines. The nervous system is well developed as shown by the extreme
sensitiveness of insects to touch. The brain is comparatively small
except in the bees and ants. The circulatory system consists simply of a
long tube heart, the blood vessels being absent. In this way the
internal organs of the insect are simply bathed in the blood. The
system of respiration is most complicated. The air is taken in through
pores usually along the side of the body and is then carried through
fine tracheal tubes to all parts of the body. You cannot drown an insect
by putting its head under water, since it does not breathe through its
mouth. The muscular system is similar to that of other animals which
have the skeleton on the outside.

[Illustration: The internal organs of the honey bee. Note the strong
wing muscles in the thorax. The tube-like heart begins in the head and
extends back through the thorax and follows the curve of the abdomen.
Below the heart is the digestive tube consisting of the slender
oesophagus which extends back to the expanded honey stomach, in which
the bee carries the nectar it collects from flowers, then the curled
true stomach, the small intestine and expanded large intestine. Below
this is the nervous system consisting of the brain and a chain of
connected enlargements or ganglia extending back into the abdomen in the
lower part of the body. The respiratory system in part appears just
above the honey stomach, and the black circular or oval spots are cross
sections of connecting air tubes, which run all through the body. Also
note the sting with the poison gland and sack which are pulled out with
the sting; also the sucking tube for getting honey from flowers, and the
structures on the legs for gathering and carrying pollen; the pollen
basket is on the back side of the hind leg.]

_Their Methods of Developing_

In most cases the parent insect deposits small eggs which hatch later
into the young insects. In some cases, as with the blow-flies, the
maggot may hatch from the egg while yet in the parent's body, when the
active larva is born alive. Whether the egg hatches before or after it
is deposited, the young insect continues to develop in one of three
ways. It may resemble the parent and simply grow as does a kitten, or it
may look somewhat like its parent though smaller and without wings, as
the young grasshopper, or it may bear no resemblance whatever to the
parent, as the caterpillar which feeds and grows and finally spins a
cocoon in which it passes to the resting chrysalis stage and later
emerges with wings. The development of insects is therefore extremely

[Illustration: The chinch bug showing development with incomplete
metamorphosis; a, egg; b, first nymph; c, second nymph; d, third nymph;
e, fourth nymph; f, adult winged bug; g, chinch bugs extracting sap from
corn plant. To control this pest burn over all winter harboring places
and use chemical or dust barriers following wheat harvest.]

_The Principal Orders_

In order to study a group of animals which includes so many thousand
different kinds it is necessary to divide them into a number of sharply
defined divisions or orders. All animal life is naturally grouped into
such divisions and subdivisions. Among the insects we at once detect
seven large, sharply defined divisions or orders, and ten or more
smaller ones. Of these we have first, the two-winged true flies; second,
the four-winged butterflies and moths; third, the hard-backed beetles;
fourth, the stinging four-winged wasps and bees; fifth, the variously
formed sucking insects or true bugs, as chinch bugs and bed-bugs; sixth,
the rapid-flying four-winged snake doctors or dragon-flies and, seventh,
the hopping forms, the grasshoppers. Besides these we have the various
smaller orders of water-loving insects, fleas, etc. The seven groups
mentioned above include the majority of our common forms and in the
studies to follow we will include only representatives from these

[Illustration: The Hessian fly showing development with complete
metamorphosis; a, egg; b, larva or maggot; c, flax-seed stage; d, pupa;
e, adult winged fly; f, wheat stubble with flax-seed stages near base
taken after harvest. To control this pest, plow under stubble after
harvest; keep down all volunteer wheat and sow wheat after fly-free date
in the fall.]

_Their Habits_

The habits of insects are as varied as their forms and adaptations. Some
live in the water all their life, others spend a part of their life
under water, others live the care-free life of the open air, others
enjoy feeding upon and living in the foulest of filth, others associate
themselves with certain definite crops or animals thereby doing untold
injury, while others produce food and other materials which are to be
used by man for his comfort. Every imaginable nook and crook, from the
depths of lakes to the tops of mountains, from the warm, sunny south to
the cold frigid north, from the foul damp swamps to the heart of our
desert lands, offers a home for some small insect.

The most striking habits and developments among insects is found in the
more highly advanced families of bees and ants where definite insect
societies are formed, resembling in many respects human societies and
human activities. Among these villages are established, homes built,
battles fought, slaves made, herds kept by shepherds, and even fields
cultivated. In these groups we have the nearest approach to human

_Their Role in Agriculture_

Some insects may be very destructive to crops, others are beneficial,
while the majority of insects are of no importance to man or
agriculture. The various forms of pests such as the chinch bug, potato
beetles, and others do an enormous amount of damage each year. They
destroy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops annually in the
United States alone. They devour enough to pay for the entire cost of
running the school system of our country and nearly enough to meet all
the expenses of our government. In view of these facts it is the duty of
each and every farmer, young or old, to acquaint himself with these
destructive pests and prepare himself for combating them. With a
knowledge of the methods of controlling these pests much of this
enormous loss can be prevented.

While some insects are extremely injurious, others are very helpful. The
products of the honey bee in the United States alone amount to several
million dollars a year, to say nothing of its value to the farmer in
pollinating fruits. The annual output of silk, all of which is spun by
the silkworm, is worth millions of dollars. Many other forms are of
value to man by producing material of commercial value such as lac,
shellack, dyes, medicines, etc. Of all the beneficial insects those
which are of greatest value to man are the parasites and similar forms
which help to keep in check many of the severest pests of the farm.
Insects are not all bad fellows by any means. One must acquaint himself
with those which are good and those which are bad before he can hope to
deal with them intelligently.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_And with childlike credulous affection
      We behold those tender wings expand,
    Emblems of our own great resurrection,
      Emblems of the bright and better land._"




    "_Does he who searches Nature's secrets scruple
    To stick a pin into an insect?_"

                                        --A. G. OEHLENSCHLAEGER.

In the life of every normal human there comes a time when he wishes to
make a collection of some kind. It may be a collection of coins, postage
stamps, post-cards, shells, relics, birds' eggs, pressed flowers or
insects. If the child grows up in the country, the result of this
craving is usually three or four cigar boxes of insects or an almanac or
geography stuffed with the most attractive wild flowers of the field. A
collection of this sort may be small and poorly kept and yet it is worth
while. In later life one will search in his mother's closet or attic
for the old cigar boxes which contain the remains of youthful efforts,
usually a mass of gaudy wings, fragments of insect legs and bodies and a
few rusty pins. This desire to make a collection is natural and should
be encouraged in the child. It tends to make him observe closely and
creates an interest in things about him, and if properly directed it
will add a store of information which can be gotten in no other way.

_Directions for Collecting_

Many boys and girls of the rural schools will have little time or
inclination to provide themselves with apparatus for collecting insects.
An old straw hat or a limb will serve their purpose. From their point of
view what difference does it make if they tear off most of the legs and
break the wings? They succeed in securing the "bug" and when pinned in
the box it will mean just about as much to them as the most perfect
specimen ever prepared.

[Illustration: A convenient home-made net for catching insects; note the
broom-stick handle, heavy twisted wire and mosquito net bag.]

This method of catching insects will prove effective where nothing
better is available, but any child can easily make a small insect net by
attaching a loop of fairly stiff wire to a broom handle or other stick
and sewing a bag of mosquito netting or other thin cloth to the wire. By
means of such a net one can catch insects more easily and at the same
time there is less danger of tearing such insects as butterflies. Care
must be taken in handling the stinging insects.

[Illustration: A cyanide jar for killing insects; note the lumps of the
deadly poison potassium cyanide in the bottom covered and sealed by a
layer of plaster of Paris.]

The country boy and girl will have little trouble getting hold of
insects, but they are often puzzled when it comes to killing them. It
seems cruel to pin up an insect alive and have it squirm for a day or
two and some means of killing them should be devised. Most of the soft
insects, such as flies, butterflies, etc., can be killed by pressing
their body, in the region of the wings, between one's thumb and
forefinger. Such forms as beetles and wasps can be quickly killed by
dropping them into coal oil or a strong soap suds. Any method which can
be devised for quickly killing the insect, and which will not seriously
mutilate it, can be used.

A convenient killing bottle can be made by sealing a few small lumps of
the deadly poison, potassium or sodium cyanide, in the bottom of a
strong, wide-mouthed bottle, with plaster of Paris; or a few drops of
chloroform or ether on a wad of cotton in a similar bottle, will also
serve as a convenient killing jar.

_Pinning and Preserving a Collection_

[Illustration: Method of pinning different kinds of insects.]

After the insects, have been caught and killed, they should then be
prepared for the permanent collection. Most insects such as wasps,
beetles, flies and grasshoppers should simply have a pin thrust through
their bodies until they are two-thirds the way up on the pin and then
put them away in a box. Such forms as butterflies and moths make a much
better collection if the wings are spread so as to bring out their gaudy
markings. In order to spread butterflies' wings, one needs a spreading
board, which can be made in ten minutes by taking a pine board two feet
long, and six inches wide and on this nail two strips an inch thick, so
that there is a crack between them. The crack should be half an inch
wide at one end and a quarter of an inch wide at the other end, and in
the bottom of it press strips of cornstalk pith so as to have something
soft in which to stick the pins. After a pin has been stuck through the
body of a dead butterfly between the wings, it is then pinned in the
crack so that the back of the butterfly is on a level with the strips.
Then the wings are drawn forward until they stand straight out from the
body when they are pinned down by means of strips of paper and left to
dry a few days until they become perfectly rigid. In this way a most
beautiful collection can be made very easily, but where time and
materials are not available, simply pin them up like other insects,
leaving the wings to hang as they will. After the specimens are pinned
they should be put away in cigar boxes in the bottom of which is pinned
or pasted a layer of cork or corrugated paper similar to that which
comes between glass fruit cans. These make ideal cases for keeping small
collections as the odor of tobacco helps keep pests from getting in to
destroy the collection.

[Illustration: Home-made spreading board for spreading butterflies and

[Illustration: Cigar box with strip of corrugated paper in bottom used
as case for keeping pinned insects.]

_Rearing and Observing Them While Alive_

While studying an insect it is advisable wherever possible to first
study it where it is found in the field and later bring it home and keep
it alive in a jar where it can be fed and observed and its various
habits studied. Cages for breeding insects consist simply of a few glass
fruit cans and jelly glasses with tin or cloth covers. A child can
borrow one or two of these from his mother's fruit cellar. A layer of
moist sand or soil should be put in the bottom of the jar to provide a
retreat for those forms which go into the ground before changing to
adults. Before an insect is placed in one of these breeding cages its
food plant should be determined by observations in the field, and every
day or two a fresh supply should be gathered. Most of the forms
discussed in the following chapters can be kept in jars and reared to
the adult stage. Rearing insects is both interesting and instructive.
Every child should be given an opportunity to rear a few forms either
during the school year or during the summer vacation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_I happened one night in my travels
      To stray into Butterfly Vale,
    Where my wondering eyes beheld butterflies
    They lived in such houses of grandeur,
      Their days were successions of joys,
    And the very last fad these butterflies had

    "_There were boys of all sizes and ages
    'Twas a terrible sight to see boys in that plight,
      I was answered: 'OH, WELL THEY ARE DEAD.
    Just look at this fellow--his hair is so yellow,
      And his eyes such a beautiful gray._

    "_'Then there is a droll little darky,
      As black as the clay at our feet;
    He sets off that blond that is pinned just beyond
      In a way most artistic and neat.
    And now let me show you the latest,--
      A specimen really select,
    A boy with a head that is carroty-red
      And a face that is funnily specked._

    "_'We cannot decide where to place him;
      Those spots bar him out of each class;
    We think him a treasure to study at leisure
      And analyze under a glass.'
    I seemed to grow cold as I listened
      To the words that these butterflies spoke;
    With fear overcome, I was speechless and dumb,
      And then with a start,--I awoke!_"

                                        --ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.



The grasshopper or locust is one of the most ancient plagues of
cultivated crops. From the earliest time they have destroyed crops.
During Moses' sojourn in Egypt they were so destructive as to cause
severe famine and various other references to their destructive work are
to be found in the early writings. Since those early days, just think of
the crops that have disappeared between the greedy jaws of grasshoppers!

In our own country it has not been many years since the sun was darkened
for days by clouds of grasshoppers as they settled down from the Rocky
Mountains upon the growing crops in the neighboring states. One day a
field might have a promising crop and by the next day it might be left
as bare as a dry stubble field in August. Those days of great
destruction in America have largely passed but each year the active jaws
of "hoppers" devour a handsome fortune.

[Illustration: Common differential locust or grasshopper; a, egg nests
underground; b, young nymph; c, d, older nymphs; e, adult grasshopper;
f, nymph feeding on grass. This shows development with incomplete

In the same order with the grasshoppers come the crickets, katydids,
rear-horses, devil's darning-needles or walking-sticks, and cockroaches.
The grasshoppers are most troublesome, however. They deposit eggs in the
ground and in other protected places. In the spring these hatch into
young "hoppers" scarcely larger than a pin head at first. Throughout the
early summer these small fellows feed and increase in size. They burst
their old skins and crawl out of them a number of times as they grow
larger. Toward fall they become full grown with four strong wings and
very powerful hind legs for jumping. In this condition most of the
common grasshoppers will be found in the fall when the rural schools


The small so-called red-legged grasshopper is always most abundant in
the fall and for this reason we have selected it for our studies. It is
about an inch long, olive-brown in color with the ends of the hind legs
bright red. It is found everywhere in pastures, meadows and along
country roads. Approach one of them in the field and see what happens.
How does it get away? When disturbed, how far does it go? Does it hide
in the grass when you try to catch it? Observe one that has not been
disturbed. Where do you find it; on the ground or on plants? How does it
move about when not scared? Watch carefully and see what plants it feeds
on. How does it go about it? What do you find feeding on grasshoppers?
How does a turkey catch them? Have you ever seen a dull colored fly,
which inhabits dry paths and which flies with a humming sound like a
bee, feeding on grasshoppers? These are called "robber-flies" or
"spider-hawks" and they destroy thousands of grasshoppers.


After you have learned all you can about the habits of the grasshopper
in the field, catch a few of them and take them home and put them in a
glass fruit jar. Collect green leaves for them and watch them feed.
Watch their method of feeding closely and see how it differs from that
of a horse or a cow. How do they move about in the jar? Which legs are
used in walking? What do they do with the jumping legs while walking? Do
they use their wings at all while in the jar? Watch them wash their face
and feet after feeding. Give them leaves of different plants, especially
of field and garden crops and determine which they like best. Can you
find any plant which they will not eat? Find out how fast they feed and
considering the life of any one individual to be 200 days, calculate the
number of grass blades each individual may eat. Are the feelers used
while in the jar, and if so for what purpose?


Take a grasshopper from the jar and examine it carefully. Count the
number of legs, wings and joints in the body. How many joints in the
legs? Examine the tip of the foot for a soft pad and on either side of
it a strong hook. What are these used for? What are the sharp spines on
the side of the hind-legs for? Examine the side of the body and see if
you can find the small breathing pores. How do the legs join the body?
Where are the wings attached? How broad are the wings as compared with
the body? How are they folded? Are the two pairs of wings alike? Which
is used most in flying? Is the head firmly attached to the body? Examine
the large eyes; where are they found? Will grasshoppers bite you while
handling them? What is the brown juice which escapes from the mouth when
disturbed? How long are the feelers as compared with the body? Can you
tell the males from the females? What is the distinction? Do they ever
make music? Examine for all the foregoing points and write a brief
report covering these. Make a careful drawing of a grasshopper from one
side; also make an enlarged drawing of the face of a grasshopper and
name the parts.



In the house fly we find one of man's most deadly foes. War can not
compare with the campaigns of disease and death waged by this most
filthy of all insects. In our recent strife with Spain we lost a few
lives in battle, but we lost many more in hospitals due to contagious
diseases, in the transmission of which this pest played a most important

The fly is dangerous on account of its filthy habits. It breeds in
filth, feeds on filth in open closets, slop-barrels, on the streets and
in back alleys and then comes into the house and wipes this germ-laden
filth on our food or on the hands or even in the mouths of helpless
babies. Who has not seen flies feeding on running sores on animals, or
on "spit" on sidewalks? These same flies the next minute may be feeding
on fruits or other food materials. We rebel when pests destroy our crops
or attack our stock, but here we have a pest which endangers our very
lives, and the lives of those dear to us.

If the fly confined itself to filth we could overlook it as it would
help to hasten the removal of filth. On the other hand, if it avoided
filth and remained in our home we could not overlook it, but we could
feel safe that it was not apt to do us a great deal of harm. But, like
the English sparrow, one minute it is here and the next somewhere else;
from filth to foods and then back again to filth. In this way it carries
disease germs upon its feet and other parts of its body and by coming in
contact with food material some of these germs are sure to be left on it
and cause trouble later. The fly's method of carrying disease is
different from that of the mosquito where the germ is carried inside its

[Illustration: House fly; a, larva or maggot; b, pupa; c, adult; e, egg.
All enlarged. (Modified from Howard Bur. of Entomology. U. S. Dept.

The presence of flies in the home is usually a sign of untidiness; but
it means more, it means that disease and often death is hovering over
the home. We are too apt to consider the fly simply as a nuisance when
we should take it more seriously. The child should be led to realize
that the fly should not be tolerated in the home, that it is dangerous
and that it can and must be destroyed.

The house fly may pass the winter either as the adult fly in cracks and
crannies about the home, or in out-buildings or it may remain as a
hard, brown, oval pupa in stables and manure piles when, with the first
warm days of spring, it escape from this case as the fly ready to lay
eggs for the first colony. The fly breeds largely in horse manure either
in stables, manure piles or in street gutters where manure is allowed to
collect. Each female lays a large number of eggs and since it requires
less than two weeks for the pest to mature, we are soon overrun with
flies in the summer where steps are not taken to control them. The
maggots are often so abundant in stables that they can be scooped out
with a shovel. This ceaseless breeding continues from spring until the
first frost in the fall.

[Illustration: Favorite breeding places of house fly. Such places should
be kept as clean and neat as the front yard.]

In the control of the fly and prevention of trouble from it there are
three important steps to take. First of all, go to the source of the
trouble and do away with or screen all breeding places. Then, by keeping
in mind the fact that the fly is comparatively harmless as long as it is
kept from filth laden with germs, do away with all open closets,
uncovered slop-barrels and other filth. As a further precaution keep it
from the home by the use of screens and when necessary "swatters." Do
not make the mistake of trying to control the pest with the "swatters"
alone. In the country too often manure is permitted to accumulate about
the barn during the summer with a view of using it on wheat ground in
the fall and this furnishes ideal conditions for the fly to breed.
Another source of constant danger especially in the rural districts is
the presence of open closets or worse still the presence of no closet at
all. This is without doubt the most dangerous accessory of the farm.
More screens should be used in the home and greater care in keeping them

[Illustration: An open closet to which the house fly has free access.
Such a closet is the most dangerous accessory of any home.]


Observe first of all the feeding habits of the fly. What foods in the
home is it most fond of? Make a list of all the food materials it is
found to feed on. Where and on what is it found feeding out doors? Do
you find it feeding on filth and if so, on what? Do you find it about
the barn? Where is it usually found in the barn? How can the fly carry
filth to food materials?

In studying the breeding of the fly determine where it lays its eggs and
where the maggots are found. Examine fresh manure in the stable and see
if you can find small white maggots about half an inch long and as large
around as the lead in a pencil. If you do, place some of them with some
fresh manure in a glass jar and see what becomes of them. In a few days
the maggots will disappear and in their places small oval, brown
bean-like objects will appear. A few days later these will crack open at
one end and the fly will crawl out. Keep records of the length of time
it requires for the pest to pass from one stage to the other. If maggots
cannot be gotten put some fresh manure in the jar and catch a number of
live house flies and put them in with the manure and watch for results.
Collect a jar of fresh manure with maggots and sift over it a little
powdered borax and see what happens to the maggots. Where horse manure
can not be properly disposed of, cheap borax is used to throw over piles
of manure to destroy the maggots and prevent the flies from breeding in
it. Write a brief description of the different stages and make careful
drawings of these. Do not mistake the house fly for other flies often
found on food in the home.

Collect a few flies and put them in a bottle and drop in with them just
a few crumbs of sugar and watch them feed. They cannot chew but a little
saliva from the mouth dissolves a little of the sugar which is then
lapped up as syrup. Notice what a peculiar sucker they have for drawing
up liquids. How can they crawl along in the bottle with their backs
toward the floor? Examine the tip of their feet for a small glue pad
which sticks to the glass. These glue pads and the sucker are well
fitted for carrying filth. Examine the fly carefully and write a brief
description of it. What color is it? How many legs? How many wings? Are
these transparent? Behind the wings there is a pair of small stubs which
is all that is left of the hind pair of wings. Are the eyes large? Can
you find a pair of small feelers? Why can you not pick up a fly like you
would a grasshopper? Is their eye sight good? Why are they always most
abundant on a kitchen screen door? Can they smell?

What are the fly's worst enemies? Will the toad eat them? Do chickens
eat them? Have you ever seen chickens scratching in manure and feeding
on the fly maggots? Put a few drops of formaldehyde, which you can get
from a druggist, in a few spoonfuls of sweet milk or sugar syrup and let
the flies eat it and see what happens to them. This is one of our best
poison baits for flies which get in the home or collect about the dairy.
Formaldehyde is a poison and when used in bait it must be kept out of
reach of children. Just about frost, in the fall, watch for the
appearance of inactive flies on walls, windows and other parts of the
house. These have been attacked by a parasitic disease. These are often
found sticking to walls and other objects about the room in the winter,
and are commonly thought to be passing the winter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_The insect we now call the 'house fly' should in the future be
    termed the 'typhoid fly,' in order to call direct attention to the
    danger of allowing it to continue to breed unchecked._"

                                        --L. O. HOWARD.



Here we have another small insect which, like the house fly, is
extremely dangerous, due to its ability to carry the germs of disease.
There are hundreds of species of mosquitoes, some small, some large. The
majority of these are unable to carry disease so far as we know at
present, but they should be avoided as dangerous. The Missouri forms
which carry disease are the so-called malarial fever mosquitoes, and
they are entirely responsible for the transmission of this sapping and
often fatal disease. In the warm countries these are more abundant and
the fever is more fatal. In the south there is still another
disease-carrying mosquito, the yellow fever mosquito. This form is most
dangerous of all.

The mosquito first bites a patient suffering with malaria and in this
way it takes in germs along with the blood which it sucks from the
patient. After these germs pass through stages of development in the
body of the mosquito they are ready to be injected back into a healthy
person where, in due time, they cause the disease. The germs feed inside
the red blood corpuscles and at regular intervals they destroy a large
number of these causing a chill which is followed by fever and a new
supply of corpuscles is produced. This alternation of chill and fever
may continue all summer, if medicine is not taken to destroy the germs.
Quinine will kill the germs if it is taken so that plenty of it is in
the blood when the germs come out of the torn down corpuscles during a

In order to prevent malarial fever, get rid of the mosquitoes by
draining and oiling the breeding places, escape their bites by screening
houses, smudging and destroying the adults, and keep the mosquitoes
from patients who have the fever. This is almost as important as the
destruction of the mosquitoes. The malarial fever mosquitoes are as
harmless as our common forms so long as they do not become infected with
germs by sucking blood from a fever patient.

[Illustration: Mosquitoes in position for biting; a, common Culex
mosquito; b, malarial fever mosquito. Note that the one stands parallel,
while the other stands at an angle to the surface on which it rests.]

In view of the fact that most of our common mosquitoes are classed as
non-dangerous, it is of interest to know just how to distinguish the
harmless ones from the dangerous. The adults of the two forms can be
easily distinguished when they are seen at rest. The common forms always
rest with the body parallel to the surface on which they rest, while the
malarial form always elevates the end of the body so that the head is
pointed toward the surface on which it rests. In like manner the
wigglers can be distinguished from each other. Our common wigglers
always hang head downward in the water while those of the malarial
mosquitoes rest near the surface of the water with their bodies parallel
to it. The majority of the wigglers found in rain barrels are of our
common forms.

[Illustration: Common Culex mosquito showing stages of development; a,
raft of eggs; b, larvæ or wigglers of different sizes; c, pupa; d,
mosquito. The large wiggler and the pupa are taking air from the surface
of the water through their breathing tubes.]

The life of the mosquito is quite interesting and is an excellent
example of an insect which lives in the water part of its life and in
the air the rest. The mature female mosquito, which does all the
biting, searches for water in rain barrels, cans, ditches, ponds, and
stagnant swamps where she lays her eggs either in raft-shaped packets or
singly. When the wigglers hatch they swim about in the water and feed
upon decaying material and microscopic water plants. When the wiggler is
full grown it changes to an active pupa which has a large head and a
slender tail and is more or less coiled. A little later the winged
mosquito escapes. In the rural districts most of the mosquitoes breed in
stagnant ponds, swamps and rain barrels and from these they fly to the
home where they cause trouble. Such places should be drained or
protected with oil or other means to prevent the mosquito from using
them for breeding purposes. Ponds can be freed of the wigglers by
introducing fish or by using a small amount of coal oil on the surface.
The wigglers have a breathing tube which is thrust out above the water
when fresh air is needed and if there is a thin film of oil on the water
this is prevented. Rain barrels can be freed of the pest in this way
also, or perhaps better by covering them with a cloth. The mosquitoes
are most troublesome about the home at night. When one sits out doors he
should keep a smudge going to drive them away while screens will keep
them out of the house at night.


Collect all the different kinds of mosquitoes you can find and note
difference in size and markings. Do you find the malarial fever mosquito
in your region? Is malarial fever common during the summer and fall? Are
there any old stagnant ponds or swamps near your home? If so, examine
these for wigglers. Examine rain barrels for small raft-shaped packets
of eggs. These resemble small flakes of soot and are difficult to pick
up between your fingers. Take a stick and lift them from the water and
examine them. One packet may contain a hundred or more eggs. Put a few
of these packets in a tumbler of rain water and watch for the wigglers.
At first they will be very small but they grow fast. Watch them come to
the surface to breathe. The tip of the tail is projected above the water
and air is taken in at two small breathing pores or spiracles. Examine
rain barrels for the larger wigglers. What do they live on in the rain
barrel? What do they do when you jar the barrel? Do you find any of the
rounded pupae in the barrel? They are active the same as the wigglers.
If you find pupae, put some in a tumbler of water, cover it with cloth
or a lid and watch for the mosquitoes to appear. After collecting
several mosquitoes examine them for number of wings, legs and markings
and see if all have the slender sucking tube. The males have large
feathery feelers, but no sucking tube.

Write a brief description of the wiggler and the mosquito, their
breeding places and means of destroying them. Make drawings of the
different stages, wiggler, pupa and mosquito.



    "_And here and yonder a flaky butterfly
    Was doubting in the air._"


With the first approach of spring comes swarms of large green flies
which bask in the March sun on the south sides of buildings. They are
not with us long, however, until we notice flashes of white quickly
moving about from one early weed to another. These are the advance
guards of the cabbage millers or butterflies. All through the cold
winter they remained in the chrysalis stage stuck to the sides of
houses, fence posts and in other protected places, awaiting the first
breath of spring. The first adults to emerge find no cabbage on which
to lay their eggs so they are compelled to use other plants such as
pepper grass.

[Illustration: Egg of cabbage miller much enlarged.]

The eggs are very small and are usually placed on the lower edge of the
leaf. These hatch and the small green worms appear. Throughout the
summer there are a number of broods produced and an enormous amount of
damage is done. Just before frost the last caterpillars search for
protected places where they pass to the pupal or resting stage for the
winter. No cocoon is spun by this caterpillar.

Where measures are not taken to control the cabbage worms they destroy
much of the cabbage crop each season. The white butterflies can be seen
any day during the summer visiting cabbage, mustard, radishes and other
similar plants. By destroying all of the worms and millers in the early
spring one has less trouble later. This can be done by hand picking, or
where the patch is large by spraying with a poison solution to which
soap is added to keep the solution from rolling off in large drops.
Poison can be used until the heads are well formed, but if the first
worms in the spring are destroyed, later spraying is unnecessary though
an occasional handpicking will help.


[Illustration: Cabbage worm feeding, slightly enlarged.]

Go into the garden and examine the cabbage for small green worms which
vary from one fourth to a little over an inch in length. What is the
nature of their work on the leaf? Where do they feed most, on the outer
or inner leaves? Do they eat the entire leaf? How does the work of the
young worms differ from that of the larger ones? Do they spin silk? Are
they on the top or under side of the leaf? Examine under the dead and
dried leaves at the ground and see if you can find small, hard, gray
objects which have sharp angles and which are tied to the leaf with a
cord of silk. What are these objects? Watch the miller as she visits the
cabbage and see if you can find the small eggs which she lays on the
under side of the leaves. When she visits a cabbage plant she bends her
body up under the outer leaves and stops but a moment, fluttering all
the while as she sticks the small egg to the leaf. It is about the size
of a small crumb of bread. What does the miller feed on? Does she visit
flowers? If so, what flowers?

[Illustration: Pupa or chrysalis of cabbage miller.]


Collect a few of the worms and put them in a glass jar with a piece of
cabbage leaf. Examine them carefully and watch them crawl. How many legs
do they have? Where are they placed on the body? How can they use so
many legs while crawling? How many joints are there to the body? Note
the short fine hair all over the body which gives it the appearance of
green velvet. What color is the head? How does the caterpillar feed?
Write a brief description of the worm. Do not mistake it for the cabbage
span-worm which is also green, but which walks by humping up its back.

[Illustration: Cabbage miller on red clover blossom.]

Keep the cabbage worms in the jar for a few days and watch them
disappear. After they have disappeared, what is left in the jar? These
are the chrysalids or pupae of the insect and later from them will come
the millers. Take one of the pupae in your hand and see if it can move.
If it is in the summer the miller will appear in a week, but if it is in
the late fall it will simply pass the winter in the pupa stage. Watch
the miller escape from the pupal case and describe it. Examine the
miller carefully and describe briefly the number of legs, wings,
segments of body, sucking tube and color markings. Make careful drawings
of the caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. What gives the color to the
wings? Rub the wings between your fingers and see if the color comes
off. The wings are covered with very small scales of different colors
which combine to give the beautiful markings. The wings of all
butterflies and moths are covered with scales and hairs in this way. In
this insect we find both chewing and sucking mouth parts. The
caterpillar chews while the parent butterfly has a long tube for sucking
up nectar from flowers and water from puddles in the road.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Far out at sea--the sun was high,
      While veered the wind and flapped the sail;
    We saw a snow-white butterfly
      Dancing before the fitful gale
          Far out at sea._

    "_The little wanderer, who had lost
      His way, of danger nothing knew;
    Settled a while upon the mast;
      Then fluttered o'er the waters blue
          Far out at sea._

    "_Above, there gleamed the boundless sky;
      Beneath, the boundless ocean sheen;
    Between them danced the butterfly,
      The spirit-life of this vast scene,
          Far out at sea._

    "_The tiny soul that soared away,
      Seeking the clouds on fragile wings,
    Lured by the brighter, purer ray
      Which hope's ecstatic morning brings--
          Far out at sea._

    "_Away he sped, with shimmering glee,
      Scarce seen, now lost, yet onward borne!
    Night comes with wind and rain, and he
      No more will dance before the morn,
          Far out at sea._

    "_He dies, unlike his mates, I ween
      Perhaps not sooner or worse crossed;
    And he hath felt and known and seen
      A larger life and hope, though lost
          Far out at sea._"

                                        --R. H. HORNE.



[Illustration: Apple worms in core of apple. Usually only one worm
appears in an apple. Note the decaying of the apple.]

This is perhaps the most destructive insect pest attacking the apple.
Every year, that we have a good apple crop, there are thousands of
bushels of wormy apples which are practically worthless. This means an
actual loss of thousands of dollars a year to the apple growers of this
country. For this reason alone each child should come to know the life
history, habits and injury of this pest. It is most destructive to the
apple though the pear comes in for its share.

[Illustration: The codling moth slightly enlarged. (From Slingerland).]

Every country child and many of those of the cities, are familiar with
this worm for they often bite into it while eating apples. The small
worms crawl down in the blossom end of the young developing apple and
from there bore into the pulp and eventually reach the core of the
fruit. They stay in the apple about six weeks when they eat a hole out
to the surface and crawl down to the trunk where loose bark offers a
hiding place. Here they spin their cocoons and change to a small,
brown, plump pupa and after a few days the winged moth emerges. The moth
is very small and is not often found by one not acquainted with it. They
come out during late June and early July when they lay eggs for a second
colony of worms which again enter the fruit and destroy more of it.
These worms of the second brood are usually mature and leave the fruit
about the time apples are picked in the fall in central Missouri. They
escape and soon spin cocoons in which they pass the winter. Early in the
spring these change to pupae and later the moths come out. They appear
about the time apples bloom in the spring and lay the eggs for the first
worms which enter in great numbers at the blossom end.

This in short, is the life story of the pest through the year. Little
can be done to destroy the pest after it gets into the fruit, therefore
remedies must be applied to destroy the worm before it gets into the
fruit. All orchards should be sprayed with a poison in the spring
before the worms appear. Since most of them enter by way of the blossom
end, it is necessary that the poison be put into the blossom end. To do
this spray at once after the blossoms fall, repeat after two weeks and
spray again in July to kill the second brood of worms. The protection of
woodpeckers and sapsuckers will also help as they feed on the worms
under the bark.

[Illustration: Apple blossoms at about the right stage for receiving the
first and most important arsenical spray for the control of the apple


Go into the orchard and examine for apples with masses of sawdust-like
material projecting from the sides or blossom end. By removing this
brown deposit which is the excrement of the worm, you will find a hole
leading into the apple. Cut open one of these and determine the course
of the tunnel. Where do you find the worm? Do all such apples contain
worms? Where have they gone? How does the feeding of the worms injure
the fruit? Do any of the wormy apples show rot? Are any of the windfalls
in the orchard wormy and if so what proportion?

Remove a worm from one of the apples and examine it. How many legs has
it? What color is it and does it have hair upon its body? Can it crawl
fast? Does it spin silk? Put a number of the large worms in a jar and
examine from day to day and keep records of what happens. Collect a
number in the fall and keep them in a box outdoors during the winter. In
the spring watch them change to the pupa in the cocoon and a little
later the mature insect or codling moth, as it is commonly called, will
emerge. Describe the moth and pin a number of them for your collection.
What time in the spring do the caterpillars change to the pupa and when
do the moths emerge? If you keep the moths in a bottle they will lay
their small circular flat eggs where they can be seen by looking
closely. During the winter examine under the bark of apple trees and in
cracks and crevices about apple pens for the small silk cocoons
containing the worms. Examine in the same places in the spring about
apple blooming time and then in place of the small pink worms you will
find the small brown pupae. Keep these a few days and the moths will

What proportion of apples in your region are wormy? What are they used
for? Are the trees sprayed just after the blossoms fall to control the
pest? Where spraying is carefully done, are there as many wormy apples?
Why not spray all the orchards properly and have no worms?

Draw and describe the different stages of the apple worm or codling moth
and its injury to fruit.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_O, yet we trust that somehow good
      Will be the final goal of ill,
    To pangs of nature, sins of will,
      Defects of doubt and taints of blood;_

    "_That nothing walks with aimless feet;
      That not one life shall be destroyed,
    Or cast as rubbish to the void,
      When God hath made the pile complete;_

    "_That not a worm is cloven in vain,
      That not a moth with vain desire,
    Is shrivelled in a fruitless fire,
      Or but subserves another's gain._"




[Illustration: Egg of Tomato worm moth enlarged.]

This insect is often very destructive to tomatoes and tobacco. Most
country boys and girls know it and fear its ugly looking horn. When full
grown it is four inches long, usually dark green with a number of
slanting white lines along either side. It is so near the color of the
plants that it is difficult to see it.

[Illustration: Young tomato worm.]

During the summer months the worms are common, being most abundant in
August. In the fall the mature worms go into the ground and change from
the worm to a large, oval, brown pupa with a jug-handle-like appendage
on the under side. These are often turned up when the garden is plowed
in the spring. After tomato plants are well started the large greyish
humming-bird-like moths comes from the ground and begin laying eggs. The
moth expands from four to six inches and is often seen at dusk visiting
the blossoms of "jimson weed" and other large tube flowers. They are
also found around lights at night.

Where they are troublesome the plants should either be sprayed with a
poison when the injury is first noticed or else the worms should be
picked off and destroyed. There is a small parasitic wasp which is very
helpful in destroying this caterpillar. They live inside the worm and
when mature bore out through the skin on the sides and back where they
spin small white egg-like cocoons from which later the small wasps
emerge. Often a hundred or more may come out of one worm.


Observe the worms where they are at work on tomatoes. Disturb them and
hear them grind their jaws together. Do they eat the foliage rapidly?
Dust a little Paris green on the foliage where a worm is eating and see
what happens in half an hour. Collect a number of the worms in a glass
fruit can and give them tomato leaves to eat and watch them grow. How
many segments are there to the body? How many of the segments have
small black spots on either side? These are holes through which the worm
breathes. Is the horn at the end of the body stiff enough to stick into
your hand? This is thought to be a sting but it is only an ornament and
is entirely harmless. When full grown they will burrow into the sand in
the jar and change to the pupa.

[Illustration: Full-fed tomato worm slightly reduced.]

[Illustration: Chrysalis or pupa of tomato worm. Note the
jug-handle-like sheaths enclosing the proboscis.]

Examine the brown pupa carefully and see if it can move. What is the
peculiar structure on the under side of the body? The moth which comes
from this in the spring is very large. It is covered with white and
black scales and hairs which give it a mottled appearance. Examine on
the under side of the head for a peculiar structure like a watch spring.
This is the sucking tube used in drawing up nectar from deep tubular
blossoms. When the moths are sipping nectar from "jimson weed" blossoms
they can be killed by pouring a little poison down into the blossoms.

[Illustration: Tomato worm moth natural size.]



This insect is of little economic importance to us at present but its
peculiar habit of producing light makes it a very striking form and one
which deserves study. The firefly is a beetle, and begins to make its
appearance the latter part of June when the darkest nights may be one
solid glow of fire. They live largely in damp places and bottoms at
night are specked with their tiny flashes of light. The larval or grub
stage is passed on the ground beneath grass, weeds and rubbish where
they often prey upon other insects. In some cases the grubs may be able
to produce light though as a rule the luminous grub-like creature or
glow-worm is a wingless adult firefly.


Watch for the first appearance of the fireflies in the evening and see
where they come from. Do they all appear at once or only a few at first?
Do they fly fast? How often is the light produced? Will they produce the
light while on the ground? When they fly do they stay near the ground or
high in the air? Do they light in trees?

[Illustration: Firefly beetles on sour-dock leaf.]

Catch one of the fireflies in your hat and examine it carefully. How
large is it? Describe briefly its size, shape and color. Are its wing
covers hard like other beetles? Where is the light produced? What color
is the light? Is it bright? Hold the firefly on the opposite side of a
sheet of paper and see if the light will show through. Try the same with
your hat, coat sleeve and other objects. This light is extremely
penetrating and unlike the light of a lamp is produced with the
generation of very little heat. Will it continue to flash while you hold
it? Are the segments from which the light comes the same color as the
other segments of the body? Crush the tip of the body between your
thumb and finger and see if the light continues to appear. How long does
it last? Collect a number of the fireflies and put them in a bottle and
see if the light is strong enough to enable you to read.

The firefly has proven to us that our methods of producing light are
extremely wasteful since much of the energy is lost in heat and it is
possible that through the lesson of the firefly we may some day be able
to produce better light at less expense.

[Illustration: Lower surface of firefly beetle enlarged to show the
light producing segments of the abdomen.]



[Illustration: White grub feeding on roots of corn plant, enlarged.]

This insect is more familiar to country children in the grub stage.
Every one who has followed a plow in rich sod land has seen these fat,
white coiled grubs roll down into the furrow when the plow turns them
up. They are in the ground feeding on the roots of plants. Often all the
roots of grass in lawns and meadows are eaten off and the sod dies and
can be rolled up like strips of carpet. This insect breeds largely in
sod and when this is plowed under and other crops are planted the grubs
may injure them severely. Corn, wheat, oats and truck crops are
severely injured. In some cases the grubs may feed for three years
before they change to the pupa and later to the adult beetle. To control
this pest, plow in the fall and rotate crops, so that sod will not
remain on the same land too long.

[Illustration: June beetle showing stages of development. The larva or
grub worm is feeding on roots under ground; the pupa and adult are shown
above ground.]

The beetles come from the ground or may be plowed out in May and June
and are commonly spoken of as May-beetles or June-bugs. They are usually
of a yellowish-brown color and are often troublesome coming into the
house at night where they buzz about the light, bumping into everything
until they finally drop heavily to the floor. All country boys and girls
know these beetles.


Collect a number of the grubs from the ground and examine them for legs,
eyes and mouth. How many legs have they? Can you find eyes? What use
would they have for eyes while in the ground? Do they bite? Place them
on the table and see how they move. What color are they? Do you find
spines or hair on their bodies? Pull up a little grass by the roots and
put it in a jelly tumbler with soil and put some of the grubs in with
it. Water it so as to keep it growing and follow the development of the

Collect some of the beetles and put them in a bottle and watch them
crawl about. Where are their wings? How can they get them out when they
want to fly? How many legs have they? Examine the tip of the feet for
hooks. What are these used for? Can they chew leaves? Where are their
eyes? Do you find feelers and if so where?

Write a short description of the grub and the beetle and make careful
drawings of them.



This is one of the worst pests of the potato. As the name would imply it
came originally from Colorado but is common now all over the country.
The full grown insect is short and thick with a hard shell, striped with
yellow and black. The grubs, on the other hand, are soft and red or
orange with black spots. Both the grubs and the beetles feed on potatoes
and often completely strip them of their leaves. Since they feed on
foliage they can be very quickly destroyed by dusting or spraying the
plants with a poison such as Paris green or arsenate of lead. The
patches of yellow or reddish eggs are found mostly on the under side of
the potato leaves. When the fat grubs are full-fed they go into the
ground and change to pupae and later to the striped beetles. This pest
should not be mistaken for the so-called old-fashioned potato beetles
which are long and slender and either bluish grey in color or striped
with yellow and black. These are blister beetles and are entirely


Watch for the first appearance of the adult beetles in the spring when
the potatoes are just beginning to come up. They pass the winter under
ground and in the spring come out ready to lay eggs on the young
potatoes. Collect and examine the adults. How many stripes have they?
Collect packets of eggs and count them. How many eggs in most packets?
How are they attached to the leaf? How large are the grubs when they
hatch from the egg? Examine the grubs where they are feeding on
potatoes. Do they eat holes through the leaf, or do they eat away the
entire leaf? How fast do they grow? Collect a few in a glass tumbler.
Feed them and watch them grow. What do they do when you touch them? What
does the hard backed beetle do when it is touched? Collect some of the
large grubs with tightly stuffed bodies and put them in a jar with dirt
or sand and see where they go. After a week dig them out and see what
they look like.

[Illustration: The Colorado potato beetle showing stages of development
and work on a potato plant. Note the small patch of eggs and different
sized grub on the plant and the grub, pupa and adult at side.]

Write a short description of the eggs, grubs and beetle, its work and
means of killing it when it is feeding on potatoes. Make careful
drawings of a cluster of eggs, the grub and the beetle.



    "_Hurt no living thing:
    Ladybird, nor butterfly,
    Nor moth with dusty wing,
    Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
    Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
    Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
    Nor harmless worms that creep._"

                                        --CHRISTINA ROSSETTI.

The lady-beetles comprise one family of small beetles, which is famous
for the number of beneficial forms it includes. With but two exceptions
the American forms feed upon other insects, in most cases pests such as
plant-lice and scale insects. From the time they hatch from the egg
until they pupate and again after the beetle stage is reached they are
regular tigers after plant-lice. They catch and hold their prey between
the front feet while they devour it bodily. The larva of the lady-beetle
has an astonishing capacity for in one day it will eat several times its
own weight of plant-lice. Farmers and fruit growers could hardly get
along without the help of these small beetles and yet unfortunately
thousands are often destroyed by those who do not know of their
beneficial work.

[Illustration: The spotted lady-beetle; a, larva; b, pupa; c, adult;
enlarged. (After Chittenden, U. S. Dept. Agri.)]

The lady-beetles, or lady-birds as they are often called, are fairly
uniform in shape and color. They are oval or round in outline with the
back rounded or elevated and the underside flat. In color they are
usually either orange or yellow, checkered or blotched with black or
black with yellow or bright orange markings. They closely resemble small
tortoises. Unfortunately several plant feeding beetles are similar in
shape and color which casts reflections on the lady-beetles.

[Illustration: The convergent lady-beetle; a, adult; b, pupa; c, larva;
all enlarged. (After Chittenden, U. S. Dept. Agri.)]

The grub of the lady-beetle is usually black or dull colored with red or
yellow markings which make it very conspicuous. It runs about over
foliage and is broad in front and tapers to a point behind. When the
grub is full fed it attaches the top of its body to a leaf, twig or
other object and pupates. In the pupal stage it is often protected with
spines and is able to lift the front end of the body up and down when
disturbed, producing a light tapping sound.

The lady-beetle usually hides in rubbish about the base of trees or in
some cases even enter homes for the winter months, coming out with the
spring to deposit small masses of oval yellow or orange eggs on plants
infested with lice. They breed rapidly and with the help of parasites
and other beneficial insects usually control the plant-lice pests.


Examine about fruit trees, shade trees, truck crops and in wheat fields
for the brightly marked beetles. Watch them move about the plant in
search of food. Can they fly? Do you find them eating the leaves? Do you
find any green lice near them? See if they feed on these lice. Examine
also for the soft bodied, tiger-like grubs. Do they eat the lice? Do
they travel fast? Have they wings? See if you can find any of the pupae
attached to limbs or twigs and if so, tickle them with a straw or a
pencil and see them "bow." Keep a record of the different trees and
plants on which you find lady-beetles.

Collect several of the beetles and the grubs and keep them in a bottle
or jelly glass. Leave them without food for a day and then give them
some green plant-lice and watch them devour the lice. How many lice can
one eat in a day? How do they go about devouring a louse? Do they simply
suck out the blood, or is the louse completely devoured? Supposing that
for each apple tree in Missouri there are one hundred lady-beetles and
that each beetle devours fifteen lice in a day, does it not seem worth
while protecting them and encouraging such work? A little time spent in
acquainting one's self with the good work of such forms as these will
help greatly in the fight on our insect foes. Make drawings of and
describe briefly the different stages of the lady-beetles.



What child is there that is not familiar with the insect commonly known
as the dragon-fly, snake doctor or snake feeder? Every lover of the
stream or pond has seen these miniature aeroplanes darting now here, now
there but ever retracing their airy flight along the water's edge or
dipping in a sudden nose dive to skim its very surface. At times it is
seen to rest lazily, wings out-stretched, perched on some projecting
reed or other object. But when approached how suddenly it "takes off"
and is out of reach. The dragon-fly is an almost perfect model of the
modern monoplane. Its two long wings on either side are the planes, its
head the nose, its thorax the fuselage and its long projecting abdomen
the tail or rudder. On wing the dragon-fly is one of the swiftest and
most powerful insects. The dragon-flies are found all over the world
being most abundant in the warmer regions where rainfall and bodies of
water are abundant. For breeding they require water, their immature
stages living under water feeding on aquatic animal life. Our present
order of dragon-flies is the remains of an ancient race of insects of
immense size. From fossil remains we learn that ancient dragon-flies
had a wing expanse of three feet.

[Illustration: Cast off skin of dragon-fly nymph, showing shape and
position taken on a twig when the adult winged form emerged from the
last nymph stage.]

The dragon-fly is a beneficial insect thruout life. The young feed on
mosquito wigglers and similar life in ponds and streams while the adults
dart here and there over ponds, fields or lawn catching mosquitoes and
other winged insects. Many look upon the dragon-fly as a dangerous
stinging insect but it is entirely harmless and can be handled without
the least danger. They vary greatly in size and appearance. The
so-called damsel-flies form a group of dragon-flies or Odonata which
rest with the wings in a vertical position and the young aquatic stages
are more slender. In color markings dragon-flies include all hues of the
rainbow tho as a rule they do not have such extravagant colors as the

[Illustration: One of our common dragon-flies found about ponds and


Go into the fields and study and collect the different kinds of
dragon-flies and their young stages from the bottoms of ponds. How
swiftly can they fly? Do they fly high in the air as well as near the
water or surface of the earth? Can you see them catch other insects? Do
birds catch them and eat them? Take a position along the edge of a pond
and as they come flying by swing swiftly with your net and catch one.
Examine it carefully. Note the strength of the long, slender wings with
their lace-like network of veins. Measure the distance across the back
from tip to tip of wings. Compare this with the length from tip of head
to the tip of the abdomen. Examine the head with its large compound eyes
and the chewing mouth parts. Note the strong thorax which is filled with
muscles to operate the wings in flight. How many segments are there to
the abdomen?

With the hands or with a bucket dip up a quantity of mud and trash from
the bottom of a pond and pile it on the bank. As the water soaks away
watch for signs of life in the mass. If you find a few small creatures,
say half an inch long with large head and eyes, broad body and with six
rather long legs they are probably the nymph stages of dragon-flies.
Wash the mud off of them so that you can examine them carefully. With a
straw probe in the mouth and you will find that the lower lip is a long
elbowed structure which can be suddenly thrown out in front of it and
with a pair of pincher-like prongs at the tip it can catch and hold its
prey. Some forms keep their bodies covered with mud so that they can
slowly creep up close to their prey.

Collect several nymphs and keep them in a jar of water and study their
movements and feeding habits. Disturb one with a pencil or straw and see
how it darts forward. It has a water chamber in the large intestines,
including also the respiratory tracheal gills, from which the water can
be suddenly squirted which throws the insect forward. The escaping
stream of water forces the insect forward on the same principle as the
rotating lawn sprinkler. If you collect some almost mature nymphs and
keep them for a time in a vessel of water you may see them crawl out of
the water, shed their skin and change to winged adults. Collect a few
adults of different species for pinning in your permanent collection.



This common blackish or earth-colored bug is usually called the squash
stink-bug. It has a very disagreeable odor which gives it this name.
When disturbed it throws off from scent glands a small quantity of an
oily substance which produces this odor. This is a protection to it for
few birds or animals care to feed on it. Most species of sap or blood
sucking true bugs have a similar protecting odor.

The squash bug feeds largely on squash and pumpkins. It has a slender
beak with needle-like mouth parts which are stuck into the plant for
extracting the sap. It feeds only on plant sap. When it can not get
squash or pumpkins it will feed on watermelons, muskmelons and related
crops. It is very destructive to these crops. It not only extracts sap
thus weakening the plant but it also seems to poison the plant while
feeding. In this way its bite injures the plant something like the
effects of the bed-bug's bite on our flesh. It feeds first on the leaves
and vines often killing them in a few days. Later it may cluster and
feed on the unripe squashes or pumpkins in such numbers as to completely
cover them. Every country boy or girl has seen these stinking bugs on
pumpkins in the corn field, at corn cutting time in the fall.

[Illustration: Pumpkin in field covered with adults and nymphs of squash

The squash bug lives thru the winter as the matured winged insect. It
flies from its food plant to winter quarters late in the fall. For
winter protection it may enter buildings, hide under shingles on roofs,
crawl into piles of lumber, under bark of dead trees or stumps or hide
under any similar protection. When its chosen food crops begin to come
up in the spring it leaves its winter home and flies in search of food.
After feeding for a time the female lays patches of oval, flattened,
gold-colored eggs set on edge. When first deposited the eggs have a
pale color but in a short time the golden color appears. In some cases
only three or four eggs may be found in one patch while again there may
be twenty or thirty of them. They are so brightly colored that they can
easily be seen and most boys and girls have seen them on the leaves of
squashes or pumpkins.

[Illustration: Cluster of golden-brown eggs of squash stink-bug showing
two recently hatched nymphs.]

In a few days after they are laid they hatch and out of each crawls a
small, long-legged blackish or greenish young bug called the nymph.
These little fellows usually stay in a crowd hiding on the under side of
a leaf. After feeding for a time their leaf begins to turn yellow and
soon dies. Then they move to a new leaf. As they feed they grow rapidly
and after shedding their skins they change to the second nymph stage.
This shedding of their skins or molting occurs five times before they
mature. Of course each time before the old skin or suit of clothes is
discarded a new one is developed beneath. The females may continue to
deposit eggs for later clusters of young. They become most abundant on
the crop late in the fall. Just before cold weather sets in the adults
again seek winter shelter.

This is a very difficult insect to control. Since it feeds on liquid sap
only it is impossible to kill it by spraying the crop with a poison such
as arsenate of lead. It can not chew and swallow such poison. The young
can be killed fairly well with a spray or dust containing nicotine but
such treatments are not effective against the adults or nearly mature
nymphs. A better method is to destroy all the bugs possible in the fall
before they go to the winter protection and then watch for and destroy
the adults and the eggs masses in the spring when they appear on the
young crop. If the first adults and the eggs and newly hatched nymphs
are destroyed the crop can be protected against the destructive work


Plant a few squash hills in the garden in the spring and also plant a
few seeds in rich dirt in discarded tin cans or flower pots. As the
spring advances and the squashes start to vine watch for squash bugs on
them. Examine in piles of lumber, stove wood and under bark for some of
the bugs before they come to the squash hills. If any are found put them
on the squash plants in flower pots and cover them with a pint mason
fruit jar. Watch for eggs to appear on the plants and also examine for
eggs on the squashes in the garden. When eggs appear examine them
carefully, measure them and write a brief description of them. Try to
mash them between your fingers. When they hatch carefully study the
young nymph and describe it. Can you see the slender beak which incloses
the mouth parts? How many joints are there to the antennae? As the nymph
grows watch it shed its skin. How does it do it? Where does its skin
first crack? Save the cast skin and try to follow the nymph thru all
the nymph stages to the adult. Collect a bottle of the nymphs of varying
sizes from the garden. Examine them and describe the different stages.
Can you see the wings forming on the backs of the older nymphs? How many
small wing pads are there? Examine the adult closely and write a careful
description of it. Can you find where the secretion that causes the odor
is produced? How long will the odor stay on your hands? Can you wash it
off? Spread the wings of the adult and make a careful drawing of one
front and one hind wing showing accurately the wing veins. In the garden
try to protect all the hills of squash from the bugs except one or two
used for your studies. Write a brief description of your methods of

[Illustration: Squash stink-bug adult and nymph extracting sap from



For this chapter any common species of plant-louse may be used. If the
study is made in the spring the louse on rose, apple, clover, wheat or
any other crop may be used. If the study is made in the fall the species
on turnips, corn or other plant or crop may be selected. The different
species vary greatly but for these studies any available species will be

The plant-louse or aphis is a sap-sucking insect which feeds and
multiplies rapidly often seriously injuring crops. The loss of sap
together with the poisoning effect of the bite causes the weakening of
the plant or leaf with its ultimate death if feeding continues. The
greatest damage is usually done during cold springs or during a cool
rainy period. This prevents the enemies of the louse from increasing and
attacking it while the weather may not be too severe to prevent the
louse from working. Under favorable climatic conditions the natural
enemies of the louse as a rule are able to hold it in check. The
principal enemies of the louse are certain small insect feeding birds,
lady-beetles, syrphid-flies, lace-wings and tiny wasp parasites. The
beneficial work of the lady-beetles is discussed in an earlier chapter.
The birds and lady-beetles devour them bodily, the larvæ of the
lace-wings and syrphid-flies extract their blood while the wasps live as
internal parasites.

In the latitude of Missouri the plant-lice as a rule live thru the
winter in the form of a fertile egg attached to the twigs of trees and
shrubs. The winter egg is produced by a true female plant-louse. As a
rule there is only one generation of true males and females produced
each year. This brood develops late in the fall to produce the
fertilized winter eggs. In the spring these eggs hatch and the tiny
nymphs begin to extract sap. On maturing they begin to give birth to
young lice. Throughout the summer this method of reproduction continues.
These summer forms are known as the stem mothers or agamic females.
These are not true females for they produce living young in place of
eggs and during the summer no male lice are produced at all. This is
nature's way of increasing the race of plant-lice rapidly. Late in the
fall again a brood of true males and females is produced. During the
summer the plant-lice increase more rapidly than any other type of

[Illustration: Black winter eggs of Aphis showing how they are deposited
in masses on twigs of apple. (After U. S. Dept. Agri.)]

Plant-lice vary in size, color and general appearance. Many are green
while some are red or black or covered with a cottony secretion.


Plant some melon, radish or other seeds in fertile soil in pots for use
in this study. When lice appear on crops in the garden or field, collect
a leaf with a few on it and carefully transfer them to the leaves on
your potted plants. Watch the lice feed and increase from day to day. A
reading lens or a magnifying glass will be helpful as plant-lice are
very small. How do they move about? Can you count their legs? How many
have they? Can you see their eyes and feelers? When feeding observe how
the beak is pressed against the leaf. Disturb one while it is feeding
and see it attempt to loosen its mouth parts.

[Illustration: Common apple aphis showing a winged and wingless agamic
summer forms at a and c, one with wing pads formed at b, and a recently
born young at d. (After U. S. Dept. Agri.)]

In the garden examine and see if you can find lady-beetles or other
parasites attacking the lice. Collect some of the enemies of the lice
for your collection. Make a gallon of tobacco tea by soaking one pound
of tobacco stems or waste tobacco in one gallon of water for a day or
use one ounce of forty per cent nicotine sulphate in three gallons of
soap suds and spray or sprinkle infested bushes or vegetables with it.
In an hour examine and see what effect it has had on the plant-lice.
Nicotine is the most effective chemical for killing plant-lice. Do any
of the lice develop wings? If so, how many? Wings develop on some of the
lice at times when a plant or crop becomes too heavily infested by them.
This enables some of the lice to spread to new food plants before old
plants are completely destroyed and the colony of lice starved.

[Illustration: Wooly apple aphis, showing how they cluster in masses on
limbs and secrete the white, wooly protection over their bodies.]

Make a careful enlarged drawing of a winged plant-louse and a wingless
one showing legs, feelers, beak, honey dew tubes on back and body
segmentation. If ants are seen to attend the lice observe them carefully
and describe their work. The ants feed on a sweet honey dew excretion
discharged by the lice.



    "_Simple and sweet is their food; they eat no flesh of the living._"

                                        --VON KUEBEL.

One can hardly believe that this small, ever busy creature each year
gathers many million dollars worth of products for man in this country
alone to say nothing of its inestimable value on the farm and especially
in the orchard, where it assists in carrying pollen from blossom to
blossom. It is of far greater value to man as a carrier of pollen than
it is as a honey gatherer and yet under especially favorable conditions
in one year a strong colony may produce between twenty-five and thirty
dollars worth of honey.

[Illustration: Worker, queen and drone honey bees; all about natural
size. (After Phillips, U. S. Dept. of Agri.)]

The general habits of the bee are fairly well known by all. They live in
colonies consisting largely of workers, one female or queen and males or
drones. Whenever the number of workers becomes sufficiently large to
warrant a division of the colony, a young queen is reared by the workers
and just before she matures, the old queen leaves with about half of the
workers to establish a new colony. This division of the colony is called
swarming. If a hive, box or other acceptable home is not provided soon
after the swarm comes out and clusters, it may fly to the woods and
establishes itself in a hollow tree where the regular work of honey
gathering is continued. This accounts for so many bee-trees in the
woods. The bee has been handled by man for ages, but it readily becomes
wild when allowed to escape to the woods.

[Illustration: Stages of development of honey bee; a, egg; b, young
grub; c, full-fed grub; d, pupa; all enlarged. (After Phillips, U. S.
Dept. Agri.)]

The bee colony offers one of the best examples to show what can be
accomplished by united effort where harmony prevails. Certain of the
workers gather honey, others are nurses for the queen and young brood in
the hive, others guard the hive and repel intruders, and others care for
the hive by mending breaks and providing new comb as it is needed. Each
knows its work and goes about it without interfering with the work of
others. It is one huge assemblage of individuals under one roof where
harmony and industry prevail.

Throughout the long, hot summer days the workers are busy from daylight
until dark gathering nectar, while at night they force currents of air
thru the hive to evaporate the excess water from the nectar. When
flowers are not available near the hive they simply fly until they find
them, be it one, two or more miles. As long as they are able to gather
honey they continue to do so and when they give out they drop in the
field and are forgotten, others rushing to take their place. Often when
winter is approaching and the store of honey is low the less vigorous
ones are cast out from the hive and left to die. If man could learn a
few of the lessons which the bee teaches, he would be a better, a more
useful and a wiser addition to society.


[Illustration: Two colonies of bees poorly cared for. Note box hives,
crowding, lack of shade, and high weeds. It is a crime to treat bees
this way.]

Go into the fields and study the work of the bee. Follow it from flower
to flower. See if it visits different kinds of flowers or if it gathers
its whole load of honey from one kind. Make a list of all the blossoms
you find bees visiting. Does the bee move slowly from flower to flower?
Can you see it thrust its tongue into the flower? How long does it stay
on one blossom? Does it visit red clover? Pull a red clover blossom
apart and compare the depth of the blossom with the length of the honey
bee's tongue, and determine the reason why it does not visit red
clover. The bumble-bee has a much longer tongue so it can get the nectar
from red clover blossoms. Without the bumble-bee clover seed could not
be successfully grown. Can you see small balls of yellow pollen on the
hind legs of the bee? The pollen is collected from blossoms and is
pasted on to the outside of the hind legs in the pollen basket. When the
bee returns to the hive, it stores the small balls of pollen in the
cells of the comb for use later in the preparation of bee-bread. When
the bee is disturbed in the field does it fly away or will it sting?
When it stings does it always lose its sting? What makes the sting of
the bee poisonous? Examine the wings of bees in the field and note how
they are torn from continued work of gathering honey. The older ones
often lose so much of their wings, that they can no longer carry loads
of honey. Where is the honey carried and how is it placed in the honey
cells in the hive?

[Illustration: A strong colony of bees properly housed and shaded. This
colony in a very unfavorable season stored about 50 pounds of surplus

Go now to a hive and study the bees as they go and come. Do those
returning fly as fast as those which leave? Why not? When they return do
they come direct to the mouth of the hive? Do those which leave fly
direct from the hive or circle about first? Can you detect guards which
move about at the entrance of the hive? What happens when a fly or other
insect alights near the opening? Will the bees sting when you disturb
them about the hive? If possible study the colony inside the hive. To do
this you will need smoke to subdue the guards and a veil to protect the
face. Can you find the queen? Is she larger than the workers? Examine
for honey-comb, bee-bread, worker brood, queen cells and drone cells. If
possible study the actions of a colony while swarming.

Write a brief report of what you can learn of the life, work and habits
of the honey bee.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Happy insect, what can be
      In happiness compared to thee?
    Fed with nourishment divine,
      The dewy morning's gentle wine!_

    "_Nature waits upon thee still,
      And thy verdant cup does fill;
    'Tis filled wherever thou doest tread
      Nature's self thy Ganymede._

    "_Thou doest drink and dance and sing,
      Happier than the happiest king!
    All the fields which thou doest see,
      All the plants belong to thee,
    All the summer hours produce,
      Fertile made with early juice,
    Man for thee does sow and plough,
      Farmer he, and landlord thou._"

                                        --From THE GREEK OF ANACREON.



The ants are closely related to the bees and are similar to them in many
respects. They live in colonies consisting of workers, drones, and a
queen. The males or drones appear at swarming time and the workers are
divided into various castes--warriors, guards, nurses, etc. Those
families of ants, however, which seem to have what approaches real
intelligence, far outstrip the bees in many respects. In some cases ants
seem to be able to plan and carry out lines of work very much the same
as man does. The various stages of human intelligence or races of men
from the savage to the intelligent man are in a way similar to the
various races of ants. There are ants which live as hunters, others
which live as shepherds and still others more highly developed which
grow crops either in or near the nest as is the case with the fungus
growing ants. This striking similarity between the development of ants
and man offers ground for much speculation.

[Illustration: Ant hill showing activity and stages of development; a,
egg; b, young grub; c, pupa; d, worker; e, queen with wings; f, worker
carrying young grub; all enlarged. The ant hill and workers at work much

Some ants may be of considerable value to man while others are the
source of great annoyance and injury. The tidy housewife usually places
the ant in the same category with cockroaches and bed-bugs and the corn
growers attribute much of the injury to young corn to the work of the
small cornfield ant which acts as a shepherd of the corn root-louse.
Ants are usually more destructive by protecting and caring for other
pests than by attacking the crop direct.

Every country child is familiar with ants. They are met every day during
the summer, scampering across paths, tugging at some unfortunate insect,
or sticking to one's tongue when he eats berries. Ants are as numerous
as the stars in the skies and vary in size. They are found from the
tropics to the frozen north, in deserts, swamps and in fact, almost any
place where plants or animals live. They do not waste time building or
manufacturing a complicated nest like wasps and bees, so when food is
scare, or for other reasons they need to move they simply "pack up" and
migrate. This, together with the fact that they feed on almost every
imaginable kind of plant and animal material, accounts in part for the
fact that they are the rulers of the insect world.


It is easy to study the out-door life of ants, but it is most difficult
to follow their activities in the nest. Go into the field or out on the
school grounds and watch along paths or bare spots for ants. Soon red or
black fellows will be seen hurrying along after food; ants are always in
a hurry when they are after food. Follow them and watch them catch and
carry home small insects. If they do not find worms or other small
insects, drop a small caterpillar near one of them and see what happens.
Can they drag away a caterpillar as large as themselves? Some of them
may be after honey dew, fruit juice or other material of this nature and
they should be observed collecting it. Ants collect about plants or
shrubs which are overrun with green lice, and feed on a sweet liquid
which the lice produce. Watch them collect the honey dew from the lice.
Do they injure the lice? Can you see the two short tubes on the back of
the louse?

Locate an ant nest or hill. Observe the workers carrying out small
pellets of earth or gravels. Is the earth they bring out the same color
as the surface soil? How deep may they go to get it? Do they move about
as if they were in a hurry? Who sends them out with the earth? Why do
they bring it out? Is it dropped as soon as the ant comes out of the
hole or is it carried some distance? The small ant found along paths
usually makes a small ridge all the way around the entrance. While some
of the ants are making the nest, others are collecting food. Watch for
some of these and see what they bring. Do they stop to eat before going
down into the nest? Dig into a large ant hill and see what can be found.
Describe briefly what is found. Do you find any small soft grubs and
oval cocoons? These are the young ants and they are perfectly helpless
and must be fed, bathed and cared for by the workers or nurses. The
workers pick these up between their pinchers and carry them away when
the nest is disturbed. Do the workers fight to protect the nest? Collect
some of the workers which are carrying away the young and keep them in a
jar with bits of bark and see what they do with the young.

Describe briefly what you are able to find out about ant life and
behavior; also make drawings of an ant, the young and a nest.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_A pensy ant, right trig and clean,
    Came ae day whidding o'er the green,
    Where, to advance her pride, she saw
    A Caterpillar, moving slaw.
    'Good ev'n t' ye, Mistress Ant,' said he;
    'How's a' at home? I'm blyth to s' ye!'
    The saucy ant view'd him wi' scorn,
    Nor wad civilities return;
    But gecking up her head, quoth she,
    'Poor animal! I pity thee;
    Wha scarce can claim to be a creature,
    But some experiment O' Nature,
    Whase silly shape displeased her eye,
    And thus unfinished was flung bye.
    For me, I'm made wi' better grace,
    Wi' active limbs and lively face;
    And cleverely can move wi' ease
    Frae place to place where'er I please;
    Can foot a minuet or jig,
    And snoov't like ony whirly-gig;
    Which gars my jo aft grip my hand,
    Till his heart pitty-pattys, and--
    But laigh my qualities I bring,
    To stand up clashing wi' a thing,
    A creeping thing the like o' thee,
    Not worthy o' a farewell to' ye!'
    The airy Ant syne turned awa,
    And left him wi' a proud gaffa._

    "_The Caterpillar was struck dumb,
    And never answered her a mum:
    The humble reptile fand some pain,
    Thus to be bantered wi' disdain.
    But tent neist time the Ant came by,
    The worm was grown a Butterfly;
    Transparent were his wings and fair,
    Which bare him flight'ring through the air.
    Upon a flower he stapt his flight,
    And thinking on his former slight,
    Thus to the Ant himself addrest:
    'Pray, Madam, will ye please to rest?
    And notice what I now advise:
    Inferiors ne'er too much despise,
    For fortune may gie sic a turn,
    To raise aboon ye what ye scorn:
    For instance, now I spread my wing
    In air, while you're a creeping thing!'_"

                                        --ALLAN RAMSAY.

Transcriber's Note:

    Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
    Punctuation has been normalised. Dialect, informal and variant
    spellings remain as printed. Hyphenation discrepancies in the
    illustration captions have been amended to match the main text.

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