Friday, September 11, 2020

Life Cycle of the House Fly

In testing out lessons, play, and snacktime in our Outdoor Classroom setup, Zac has discovered how annoying flies are. I am so used to eating at a table indoors, where you lay out all of your options for snack in an organized fashion and decide what you want to eat first. But the flies keep landing on the food he's not eating, and walking around on it. I learned quickly that I have to change the bag in our trash pail every day. I also bought a pack of pop-up mesh food covers, enough that each child can use one.

But what else to do?

So I asked my friend Destinee, who is a veteran Forest School teacher, what she would recommend. The first thing she told me was to do a mini unit on the life cycle of the house fly, Musca domestica. Any animal that kids dislike or worry about -- like wasps or hornets -- she does a study of. I did the same thing years ago when the only animal I was afraid of was cockroaches. So I got Madagascar hissing cockroaches as a pet. Worked like a charm.

She also advised that lemongrass essential oil can be used as a repellent and I can put some on our picnic tablecloth. Makes sense. It's an ingredient in Badger's Anti-Bug Balm. I also used lemongrass essential oil on the raw wool that we washed in the Spring for our felted slippers. So I know that it repels fabric moths! Actually, I have a pot of lemongrass, so I suppose I could carry it over to the snack area (until it gets cold and I have to bring it inside).

I had expected to do Birds as our next topic after Butterflies, but I can easily put a House Fly week in there first. Now, I'm looking for resources on the life cycle of the fly. And picture book or story suggestions, if anybody has some. I did find I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos, but it's more suitable for grades 2-4 than Kindy. Especially with the bit about the corpses & maggots. Maybe I will have to make up my own story!

Background info on the House Fly:
House Fly (PDF)
Virginia Cooperative Extension - Virginia Tech
quick 2 page summary

Houseflies (PDF)
World Health Organization
22 pages of fascinating information... print page 2 for nice life cycle diagram

House Fly (PDF)
University of Florida Extension
best for cool full-color photos

The house fly is in Animals Upside Down: A Pull, Pop, Lift & Learn Book! by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page.

Also just found it in Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time.

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