Rotting logs are home to some fascinating creatures. Try this rotting log insect activity the next time you are exploring a forest or woodland. When you find a soft, decaying log, spend time discovering the organisms that live there.
What You'll Need:
- Garden gloves
- Magnifying glass
- Small clear plastic jar
- Pencil or pen
Put on your garden gloves and get down on your hands and knees. Using your magnifying glass for a better look at the surface, look to see what lives there. You may find green plants, such moss or small seedlings.
You may find insects, such as beetles or termites. There may be other small creatures, such as wood lice and spiders. If you want a closer look at a small creature, catch it in the jar and observe it. (Let it go when you are done.)
Record your discoveries in your notebook. If you don't know the name of something you've found, draw its picture. If the wood is soft, break off a piece to see what kinds of creatures live inside. Termites, ants, and wood-boring beetles often live in logs.
Replace the wood when you are done. Record what you find in your notebook. Now turn the log over and see what lives underneath. The wood may be so rotten that it resembles soil. This is nature's way of recycling.
The nutrients that made up the tree's tissue are being returned to the soil for other plants to use. Lots of organisms here are associated with decay, such as millipedes that eat dead plant material, insects that also feed on the dead wood, and earthworms.
Ever wanted to have your own insect feeding station? On the next page you'll find out how to make one.