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The bug of the week last week was..drum roll...

A flower fly!

I bet some of you were thinking that it was a honey bee. The flower fly has two wings rather than four. Although you might mot be able to see that the honeybee has four, the fly holds it's wings out away from it's body more. The flies have bigger eyes. The antennae of the flower fly come from the middle of the face and are shorter than that of the honey bee. Once you know to look there are a lot of differences.

Flower flies fool people all the time.

See if you can spot the differences:

Honey Bee versus Flower Fly

honey bee

flowerfly

We are feeling in a lazy, summer mood this week, so we're going to do some cloud watching. Grab a blanket, find a quiet place in the shade outside and look up at the clouds.

clouds

The weather has been in the news a lot lately. With practice, you can tell something about what the weather is going to do by checking the clouds. Most of us recognize there are different types of clouds, some puffy, some wispy and some that seem to cover the sky in an endless blanket. If you and your children get interested in learning the types, there are many good books with pictures and even cloud chart posters available to help you learn their names.

Are any of the clouds darker than others? Those probably contain a lot of water. Puffy clouds that begin to tower up, raising high into the sky might indicate a thunderstorm is building. Drab gray clouds that cover the sky suggest a gentle rain that is going to settle in all day.

If your child is ready, you can discuss what a cloud is made of and how the water cycle works. Ask them how they think rain forms. We once made simple stick puppets of a mountain stream, an ocean, trees and water with wavy lines representing evaporation, clouds, and funny rain drops with cat and dog faces on them ("raining cats and dogs"). Then we did stories incorporating ideas of the water cycle, but in a way that was gently humorous, such as the rain drops didn't want to leave the clouds, and the clouds had to shake them out. We still have the puppets, and do the show every once in awhile. Repetition is good for learning, and the children don't even know they are learning when something is fun.

What are clouds made of? Clouds are made up of more than water. In addition to bits of dust, micro-critters such as bacteria, fungi and algae get caught up in clouds.

But hey, it's a lazy summer day, so don't work too hard. Hum, that cloud looks just like a mattress, and mattresses are for sleeping. ZZZZZZZ....

For a little change of pace this week, we thought we would let you be an insect detective.

mystery insect

Here is our bug of the week. Look closely. This insect has fooled a great many people, including authors of college textbooks. Do you know what it is? Let us know. Next week, we’ll reveal the answer.