Totally Gross! Worms and Cockroaches for Kids!
Do creepy crawlies like slithering worms and yucky cockroaches make you cringe, want to scream, and run away or are you ready to take out your magnifying glass and get up close and personal?
Did you know that worms help the earth by breaking down waste, recycling it into rich soil to grow flowers, gardens, and trees? And what about those disgusting, pesky roaches that come out to haunt a home? Those little scavengers eat plant and animal waste so that it doesn't build up in the environment. Trouble is, those fast buggers love to eat almost anything, including paint, glue, soap, and people food.
Worms, Nature's Recyclers
Worms and other creatures like beetles and centipedes are all essential to the breakdown of organic matter found outside like dead animals, rotten food, and even poop! They break it down so that the soil can absorb the nutrients and help things grow. Another amazing fact: one acre of soil is home to over a million earthworms! Want to observe these wiggly worms in action? Make a worm bin! Just add bedding like shredded newspaper or cardboard and leaves, worms, and your food scraps (just make sure not to give them junk food or meat! Worms are vegetarians!) And watch them turn your garbage into compost that is great for gardening!
Making Your Own Worm Bin: Discover how to create a worm-recycling bin to help make your own rich soil. Find out how to keep, feed, and maintain your worm bin.
Eek! Worm Beds: Worms may live in dead leaves but those leaves don't make for a warm, snuggly bed in the worm bin!
The Inside Story - The Parts of a Worm
Earthworm bodies are made up of segments, or tubes, that fit into each other so that the earthworm can move through soil. They breathe through their skin since they don't have lungs. They also have five hearts! To eat earthworms don't just open their mouths and chew like we do, they actually push their pharynx (that's their throat) out through the mouth to grab food and then pull it back in! Once the food has gotten all mushy it is sent down the worms esophagus into their food storage compartment known as the crop. From the crop food travels to the gizzard. This is wear the worm essentially "chews" the food. Stones and muscles grind up the food before sending it to the intestine. There the food is digested and some of it can pass into the bloodstream of the worm. Finally, whatever is left over after the important stuff is sent to the bloodstream gets pushed out of the worms anus. Gross!
Get to Know Squirmin' Herman: Can you tell the difference between Herman's head and bottom?
Worm Bodies: Oooh! Watch a baby earthworm be born. Or see an earthworms five, count 'em, five, hearts beat.
Going to Worm School: See a diagram of worm innards, pictures of worms and learn all about worm digestion.
Fun Worm Facts and Links
Did you know that an earthworm oozes mucous to stay moist and if they don't they can't breath? That's because they breathe through their skin! They've also been around for 120 MILLION years! Cleopatra was impressed! She considered the earthworm to be sacred. Did you know that in Ecuador their worms can get up to eight feet long? That's huge! While earthworms tend to live only about a year, nightcrawlers can live up to 10 years! These are the worms most people stick on hooks and use for fishing.
Is a Tapeworm Really a Worm?: If it has 2000 body segments and is 30 feet long, can it be a creepy crawly worm?
Earthworms: Up Close and Personal: See a picture of an what Aristotle called the "intestines of the soil" and find out what makes these common critters so interesting to humans!
Play Feed the Worm: Try this vermicomposting game and get rid of that garbage and gives the worms a treat!
Eat an Earthworm Treat!: Try this noodle dish that has more earthworm than noodles...although both are long!
Worm Songs: Sing yourself a worm song, sing it the whole day long...la la la la la.
Some fast facts about these pests: cockroach hair helps them detect movement as small as 2,000 times the diameter of a single hydrogen atom--now that's pretty tiny! Their skeletons are on the outside of their bodies so they can have Halloween all year long! Step on a roach and see white stuff ooze out of its body? That's roach blood. Yuck. But that's nothing. A roach can live for a week without its head!
Roach Facts: Don't try sneaking up on one of these fast little buggers, he'll "feel" you comin' a mile away!
Cockroaches Learn at Night: Not a morning person? Have a hard time getting up for school? Cockroaches do, too!
Get Out of Here! - Roach Removal
Getting rid of cockroaches usually means calling an exterminator, although parents can use natural and chemical substances, like boric acid, to keep them at bay. The best way to get rid of roaches though is to not attract them to your house in the first place. Some things you can do to reduce the likelyhood of roaches... vacuum or sweep the floor every time you eat, get rid of grease on dishes, keep the trash closed, try to avoid leaving crumbs around, eliminate hiding places, and get rid of their water sources!
Getting Rid of Pesky Roaches: "How Stuff Works" tells you how to rid your home of these creepy insects with six legs.
Pest Control for Kids: Visit pestworld and find out about how you can help control the pest population.
Cockroach Anatomy - The Parts of a Roach
Not for the squeamish! Cockroaches have so many body parts that it's a wonder they can move as fast as a human! From their false eyespot, to their "wrist" or tarsus, to their cercus which look like rams horns coming out of their bottoms, cockroaches are a study in biology! Did you know that roaches have 18 knees on six legs? They also have itty bitty hearts that are nothing more than a small tube that doesn't even have to constantly be working for the cockroach to stay alive.
Cockroaches From Head to Bottom: Lots of close up cockroach pictures that show every possible part of their bodies! Nothing is left uncovered in this tutorial!
Cockroach Nervous System: A drawing that you can copy and paste into your own cockroach studies or just print and color.
Fun Cockroach Facts and Links
Ready for some creepy and fascinating roach facts? A female cockroach can get pregnant after mating only once and then be pregnant the rest of her life. Also, cockroaches have existed for 280 MILLION years! They can run up to three miles an hour and if they get too cold will snuggle... with people. Eww! Roaches are also at rest for almost 75% of their lives.
Roach Games: Find the roaches and many other quick and easy games.
The Headless Cockroach: Plus other weird facts...did you know cockroaches can dash up to three miles per hour and stop breathing by holding their breath for up to 40 minutes? Don't try that one at home!
Cockroaches Helping People?: It's true. The Madagascar hissing cockroach may help people who have allergies. Well, it's actually those little one millimeter mites that live on their bodies.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches: Now these giant roaches will have you quaking in your boots! But, no need, they are harmless and may soon be helping people with allergies!