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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tonggu Grammy's Quest

Y'all, something is just not working for me. I feel so embarrassed. If the reasons were different, I'd most likely feel ashamed of my lack of filial piety and compassion, but the reasons are what they are, so I feel embarrassed.

My momma, Tonggu Grammy, has been dumpster diving these past few weeks. Seriously. Dump-Ster-Dive-Ing. She's been on a quest looking for something that you'd think would be easy to find, but has proven itself to be a Hot Commodity. She's been looking for bugs.

Bugs, y'all.

She needs to feed her classroom praying mantis. Her class starts the insect unit next week. Therefore, feeding this bug is her A-Number-One Priority. And it's been difficult, y'all. Very difficult. It all started about a month ago when Tonggu Grammy asked HER momma, the Tongginator's GGMa (that's short for Great-Grandma), to find a praying mantis in her garden sometime late in the summer. GGMa, being of the impatient sort, found one in less than a week.


That means my momma has been running around, trying to find bugs since July so that she can keep her praying mantis alive through October. I'm not sure if her backyard is a no-insect zone or if the woman lacks bug hunting skills, but she's resorted to hanging out at the dumpster behind the local Mickey D's to catch the mantis' favorite treats. (Those would be moths, beetles and flies, y'all. I'm now an expert. Sad, I know.) I refused to join Tonggu Grammy in her Quest to find bugs at the dumpster nor did I take photos at said location.

Because that felt exploitative.

Oh, and because I wasn't there. I was too busy hiding my face back at the house. I did, however, snap a few shots of the praying mantis... the praying mantis that currently resides in my momma's kitchen alongside two HUGE hissing cockroaches. They're for the insect unit as well. Isn't that grand?

Prepare yourselves for insect pictures, y'all.

An unsuccessful hunt in which Tonggu Grammy and the
Tongginator learn that the praying mantis doesn't care for
crickets. Like Little Miss Mantis can afford to be picky...

A flashlight moment in which Tonggu Grammy tries to
incite a poor, pathetic moth to fly around in order to
capture the interest of said praying mantis, who is
hanging upside down from the roof of the insect cage

Success! The praying mantis eats one of the Dumpster Bugs!!!
We actually celebrated this moment, y'all. What was I thinking?

One of the two hissing cockroaches... it's about as long
as the palm of my hand (not that I held it because
I totally did not come into contact with that thing)

So... obviously this doesn't work for me. In case you wondered which part doesn't work for me... basically that would be The Whole Thing. And I'm guessing it probably wouldn't work for y'all either.

So... I'd love advice on anything related to Tonggu Grammy's Quest To Feed The Praying Mantis. Because how sweet is she to care so much about her little insect-loving preschoolers? Got any bug catching tips? How about good insect collection sites other than the dumpster behind the local Mickey D's? Anything at all? Anything?

(crickets chirping)

Hello? Anyone out there?

Drat, I knew I shouldn't have posted those last two photos. Everyone already left to find more "what DOESN'T work for me" ideas at Rocks in My Dryer.


happygeek said...

Oh my.
Sorry, I am of no help.
YOur mom is one amazing teacher. AMazing.

Anonymous said...

did you ask the pet store. I buy crickets there for our toads and I never would have known they sell them. Give it a try.

Mamatini said...

Wow, this would so work for Isa. She is a Bug Fanatic of the first order.

kara said...

I would think if she turned on a bright outside light at night it would attract moths. Then all she would need is a net to catch them.

The only time I tend to see flies around our yard is when I'm picking up dog poo. So that may not be much help to you.

"Beetles" is a very large catagory. I would imagine only specific beetles are eaten. I would look them up on the internet in some sort of field guide to see where they live ie. under rocks, in moist areas, etc. and then go hunting!

Best of luck!

Aunt LoLo said...

Tonggu Momma, you are hil.A.Ri.Ous.

Every one knows how to catch bugs! Stand outside and look like a light post.....

Actually, in all seriousness, the most bugs I EVER saw gathered were around a little propane lamp when I was camping. Try going outside late at night with a REALLY bright lamp...but make sure it's REALLY dark outside. (That might be difficult in a suburban backyard!)

Briana's Mom said...

I am not a bug person. At all. Really. So I have no advice.

You mom is one determined lady! Amazing!

The Source said...

Well, I know that every time my twins go in or out the back door they let about 75 flies into my kitchen. Do Praying Mantiseseses eat flies?? Cause you can have mine. I'll Fed Ex them to you. Don't know what the cockroaches eat...and don't want to. Those suckers look SCARY!

bugs parents said...

A friend's daughter has this bug catcher thingy. It's like a vacuum that sucks up the bugs - seriously! You just aim it at the bugs and in they go. Might be a bit easier for Tonggu Grammy to snag those flying things.

McEwens said...

I know that the pet store has crickets and things... that would be SO much easier than dumpster diving!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I have visions of her camping out for bugs....

That is one BIG Roach....OMG...they freak me out!

I agree with the Aunt Lolo....the light works....we get swarms of them...plus we live near corn fields....bugs galore...tell her she is welcome to our corn fields anyday!


Georgia Peach said...


fidget said...

There is a reason I am so glad that my husband works in the pest control industry and apparently there are two hissing in your mothers kitchen!! YIKES!

I'm not sure about catching bugs, be we inadvertently discovered that Slim Jims are great frog bait

Misty said...

TG and my mentor need to be friends. i. hate. bugs. omg.
that post was not cool! LOL! but the sad thing is, as a mom of boys, i feel compelled to get over my bug-a-phobia b/cs i dont want them to be sissies (yes, i just said that) and i dont want to encourage them to throw MORE bugs at me when they realize the reaction they will get!

Sandy Toes said...

Whoa! That is a bug! My son loves bugs to big ones and little ones! What a super grandma! That praying mantis is full!

Have a great day!
-Sandy toes

Llama Momma said...

Oh, this made me laugh out loud!!

How about she hooks up with some first grade boys and enlists their help?? (My boys would LOVE spending their afternoons finding bugs for such a noble mission...LOVE. IT...)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Ooh boy. I don't mind dumpster diving if it means picking up old furniture on the side of the road, but searching out bugs in fast food trash? On purpose? What gumption she has! I'm impressed.

I used to help out at a preschool and I remember my first day the head teacher asked me to help the children feed crickets to a praying mantis. I'm a former science teacher, for heaven's sake, but chemistry, not biology. But I didn't want to look like a chicken so I took a deep breath and grabbed at the poor things. Yuck.

Thanks for your birthday wishes over at my blog party! You made my day even happier!

Anonymous said...


I SO don't do bugs.

Good luck...

(Teachers rock!)

Robyn said...

Oh man, I'm not sure where you live but when we moved to our little neck of the woods (Inland Empire, Southern California), I thought we moved to AFRICA. The bugs here are unbelievable. Ones I had not seen before, living at the beach. And the flies? They don't even move when you swat them. I wish I could ship you some.
Your mom is great, and you are too, for taking on her plight.

prechrswife said...

Now that's a dedicated teacher. I am the teacher who leans more toward the realistic-looking plastic bugs when I'm teaching my "creepy crawlers" unit. Or, occasionally the "catch and release" method for real insects, but I've never tried to keep one fed for an extended period like that.

Heather of the EO said...

Yes, the pet store! Or mail order bugs. Aren't there mail order bugs? Must be. You can get anything on-line these days. Order up! (Not at McD's!)

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Hey... think of it as education for the kids... put some food outside to get bugs on it... Florida... bug capital of the world... Though I had to laugh my butt off when you said:

"(crickets chirping)
Hello? Anyone out there?"

That is something I would do and say... I had the 'crickets chirping' as a ringtone on my phone once... it was so funny... it is actually my fave sound... when no one knows what to say you hear the crickets chirping... Hope Tonggu Grammy finds plenty of bugs...

Tonggu Grammy said...

Thanks for all the advice! My beloved praying mantis prefers flies over crickets and moths over beetles. It is incredibly sad that I know these things, but I do. I dumpster dive for the flies. Fortunately, the rest of my school has now started eating lunch at school and the flies have returned to our school dumpster. Life is once again good! Next week we will have ants, hissing cockroaches, painted butterfly larvae, spiders (which I must feed live bugs as well) and the aforementioned praying mantis. My life will get very hectic for the next few weeks and then the problem of what to do with them as we end the insect/spider unit and cooler weather comes. I may lose sleep over that one.

Wigamer said...

Praying mantises eat aphids. We ordered a praying mantis egg pod but had to let them go because we couldn't find the aphids to feed them. Maybe check flower/leaves?

Sharie said...

I say light is your best source, the dumpster behind McDonald's with a BRIGHT flash light at night...wait, that doesn't sound safe.

Anonymous said...

My youngest dumpling is SO ENVIOUS...she wants a mantis and a couple of hissing cockroaches of her own. Believe me, she would take tender loving care of such a wonderous assortment of creatures!

(But, NO, we are NOT interested in adopting them after your mother finishes her insect unit!!!...just thought I ought to clarify here!)

Anonymous said...

Just a quick thought...would the mantis make due with mealy worms? They don't move real fast, but they writhe around...and they have a nice nutty flavor, I've been told. Best of all is that you can buy them at the pet store very inexpensively. If you want to really save money, just save a couple of them back and let them turn from the worms into the bugs and multiply. They do so fairly rapidly and can thrive just fine in a plastic butter container with holes poked in the top...with some oatmeal (uncooked, of course!) and a slice of apple (for moisture).

If the mantis can't eat them fast enough to keep the population balanced, you can cook the extra mealy worms up in chocolate chip cookies. Oh...you think I JEST? Nope. I actually know of a demented home school mom (not to bash homeschoolers, I used to be one) who finished out her bug unit by having a picnic with her children and serving them home-made pizza with home-made chocolate chip cookies for dessert...and didn't tell her kids until AFTER they had eaten that the meal worms they had raised to observe the whole life cycle thing were MAJOR ingredients in both the pizza and the cookies. They are quite high in protein, and she assures me that they have a quite pleasant, nutty flavor. Surely the mantis will like them!!!

discombobulated said...

If I was teaching the bug unit, I'd be showin' a Power Point presentation. I hope those roaches are locked up. They are like the Palmetto Bugs down south.

Janet said...

Those cockroaches are disgusting. I would FREAK if I ever saw one of those suckers. Ugh. I don't mind the praying mantis....have no clue how to find bugs, though. My kids manage to do it all the time.....maybe you need to be closer to the ground?

kia (good enough mama) said...

Awesome!! Um, could your momma come up to the Toronto area and be my kid's teacher? Please? Would you at least present her with my proposal? C'mon...be a sport...