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Almost all insects found in our gardens are useful. Only 1% of all insects are harmful. Often, when we notice an insect on a plant, we worry it will cause damage. This is mainly untrue. Discover how many six-legged friends play an important role in our gardens with your group.
Well-known insects which are useful in gardens:
Insects we are less familiar with that are useful in gardens:
Rove beetles, Spanish flies, fireflies, predatory mites, tachinidae.
Here is a list of common insects that are harmful in gardens:
Watch for these! If you see them, get rid of them as quickly as possible!
You will need pictures of insects that are useful in gardens and pictures of insects that are harmful in gardens. You can easily find pictures of the insects mentioned above on the Internet, in books, in pamphlets, etc. Print and laminate them for durable, eco-friendly use. If you wish, you can punch a hole in the top corner of each picture and use a metal ring to join them together to form a book. Give each child a book. You may also choose to give one child a book containing pictures of useful insects and give another child a book containing pictures of insects that are harmful.
You will also need a magnifying glass for each child.
Talk about insects with your group. Use whatever material you have on hand to introduce the subject: books, plastic insects, etc. Discuss their usefulness and explain how certain insects are useful for plants and flowers while others can damage gardens. Invite children to observe the plants in your garden and encourage them to search for insects. Each time a child spots an insect, help him/her determine whether it is useful or dangerous using the pictures and/or books you prepared. Ask children what they think you should do with insects that are harmful for gardens. Jot down all suggested solutions and study them together to identify the best ones.
Claudine RichardEarly childhood educator
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