Welcome to a new series on Nature and Play and The Usual Mayhem – we are very excited to introduce you to our year long Nature Study for Kids via Nature Nuts. Every other week we will be sharing ideas for studying nature with children on a theme from our different corners of the world.
Our chosen theme this time is Moths – much like butterflies Moths can also be studied and provide a fascinating insight into nature for children.
We have been studying a colony of moth caterpillars for a couple of months now on our walk to nursery I spotted what looked like a huge spider’s web in a hawthorn bush and on close observation there were characteristic droppings of caterpillars present.
One of the most useful things I have discovered recently for our nature study is having a phone with a camera – it enables us to take pictures on the move without having to bring our proper camera with us each time. Snapping the “nest” we headed home to research what could have created this web/nest in the hawthorn bush.
The following weeks we have watching the tiny finger nail size caterpillars grow and devour the hawthorn bush and get bigger – reminding T and J about the great story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.
Researching we discovered we had found a colony of Hawthorn Erwine Moths – with irritable bristles observing them in situ is the best idea. Moths tend to have caterpillars with much more toxic and irritable characteristics than butterflies.
A couple of weeks ago the caterpillars disappeared and from what we had read the caterpillars would have gone inside of the hawthorn bush to cocoon out of danger. Less than 2 weeks later along from the original nest/web we started to see smaller colonies appear – it would seem that the moths had hatched and mated – spinning new nests for their eggs and the caterpillars emerged.
Later this summer we will be making our own moth trap to have a look at the night time visitors to our garden. I can’t wait to share that with you at a later date.
Pop over to The Usual Mayhem and discover about the Moths that they have observed in Canda - I find it fascinating that both of the moths that we have studied produce webs at different stages of their development.