Outdoor Hour Challenge #26 Ladybugs and Aphids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. This ones going to be fun!!! I just learned (stumbled across) about Aphids during one of your challenges a month or so ago. So I am very excited to dig a little deeper into them and ladybugs/ ladybirds. I picked up a book called Bug and Beasties on a clearance rack at Kroger today. I thought I was getting it for $3 and I got it for $1.50, YEA!!! It’s a book plus two posters, stickers, stuff for a little mobile, 3 different bug models, a game and fun fact cards. Isn’t that awesome!! It goes so well with the challenges we’ve been having lately!! Just had to share =o) Be Blessed–Angie in GA

  2. We really enjoyed this one!

  3. Anonymous says:

    My post is not about insects at all, but I thought I would post what nature study we did this week so far. Hopefully we will see Ladybugs and aphids as well this week…I will keep ya posted!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do you know if Tina is going to be making any more of her notebook pages. I have missed them the last couple of weeks.

  5. This has changed how we do nature study. The boys love it!!! My 6th grader is always running and getting our copy of Handbook of Nature Study from the table(it doesn’t make it to the bookshelf now)and reads about everything he and his brothers find. Thanks for this wonderful resource. Belinda

  6. I’m back. Yippee! :-) I’ve really missed the challenges and hope to be faithful now.

    I know this would post would have went better with the dragonfly challenge, but I wanted to start with this week. And, maybe this’ll encourage others to just post about whatever they find… that they don’t have to stick “exactly” to the topic.

  7. We had fun with this, as always!

  8. Jamie at Rose Cottage had a link to this study at her blog, and I am so glad she did! This is wonderful! I am going to have to go through and print all of these studies off for our schooling.
    Thank you for sharing these challenges with everyone! :)

  9. We spent a week staying in Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii. I put together some of the geology highlights from the trip (not to be confused with the birding or plants or the spiders one son kept finding).

  10. I too have just decided that getting out into nature is more important than following the specific challenge. Our track record for finding specific bugs is not very good! I prefer trees, they stay where they’re planted!!But we had a great scavenger hunt this week, it was fun.

  11. Back in the UK only one week and we have managed this as our first challenge here.

    Loads of fun for 3 generations on this one!

    P.s. My mom thinks what we are doing with your site is fantastic.


  12. Thank you for suggesting we skip ahead and try this challenge! We had a blast, and learned more information about aphids than I even knew existed. What neat little creatures. We didn’t see any today, but we’ll be sure to take note of them from now on :)

  13. We had a blast with a ladybug kit and plan to keep our eye out for aphids as autumn progresses!

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