Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lost Ladybug Project and Ladybug Cookies

A few months ago, a ladybug landed on my younger son's leg, while he was swinging. I thought it was cute, and snapped a quick picture of it. The very next day, I came across a post linking me to the Lost Ladybug Project at Cornell University ( Apparently, entomologists have noticed a change in the ladybug population, and are asking for children across the country to help them study it by identifying, and sending in pictures of the ladybugs they find.

To my sadness, I realized that our picture was much too vague to identify what type of ladybug we had encountered, and not knowing about the study at the time, we hadn't thought to take a really good look at the little guy. I showed the kids the Cornell website, and asked them to keep an eye out for ladybugs, and then pretty much forgot about it. That is, until my four year old came screaming into the house this week, to announce the presence of another ladybug.

It took a few minutes for me to realize she was screaming about a bug, and not a broken leg, and then I grabbed the camera and ran into the backyard. I was followed outside by a rather puzzled husband, who had not been informed of the project. The pictures I snapped of our second ladybug of the year, were just about as blurry as our first ladybug shots(apparently, it's not that easy to get a close up of an insect). This time though, we were able to study the little beetle closer, and using the printable field guide from the Lost Ladybug site, we decided it was a Coleomegilla Maculatta - not the nine spotted ladybug the project is hoping to find, but better than nothing.

After sending in our findings, we made ladybug cookies to celebrate. I found the idea for these cookies at They are just a simple sugar cookie dough, divided into parts (2/3 for the bodies, and 1/3 for the head). We added red food coloring to the dough for the bodies, and about an ounce of melted chocolate chips to the dough for the heads.

After chilling the dough for a few minutes, we rolled the red dough into one inch balls, and stuck a slightly smaller ball, out of the chocolate dough, onto each body. Then we made a deep cut, with a knife, into the back of the red balls, to form the wings. Finally, we added one chocolate chip to each wing for dots. They baked for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I was tempted to add some cherry Kool-Aid mix to the red dough to give it a flavor, but the kids associate all things cherry and grape with cold medicine, so I left them plane. Even so, the chocolate provides a enough flavor, that these were a big hit. Now if we could just spot another ladybug...

It's great to be a homeschooler.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice project. lady bugs are wonderful.