08 December 2006

Bug Vacuum helps kids safely catch insects without involving their squeamish parents

Sunny's hack for budding entomologists:

This is a great Parent Hack, as it combines a fun activity for kids, as well as a much needed task around the house.

The
Bug Vacuum is the best thing since sliced bread. Kids love it and it works like a dream for any other parents out there who are squeamish about bugs like I am. Basically, it's like a Dustbuster for bugs and your kid's the one who does all the bug collecting work for you.

There's a nifty little bug jug between the sucker part of the vacuum and the motor and handle. Once you get the bug safely in the bug jug he will usually end up on this little plastic revolving door. Then you flip the handle and the door flips over, safely keeping the bug on the inside. Then you easily remove the bug jug and your kid has a new "pet." The other side of the bug jug is mesh, so the little critters can get plenty of air.

Of course, once your child has seen the bug move around for a while, you need to remind them that he has to set it free. Although sometimes I ask him, "What happened to that spider that was in that big bug jug?" And he says, "I don't know, maybe he escaped." Lucky me!

Here's a posting on my blog with one of the cool things you can do with the bugs you catch, with accompanying short video. Photos of the bug vacuum and bug jugs can be found here.

We are big bug-liberators around here. I should say I am...my husband and kids prefer to watch as I take all the spiders outside. A while back I wrote about my low-tech tool of choice: the spider cone.

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This is a great toy, and for all the reasons you outline here. I’ve actually been known to use mine when my kids aren’t around. Unfortunately the bugs don’t always get into the house when they are home. It is much better than simply stepping on something or even spraying the can of RAID. Not only are those methods much messier, but I don’t particularly like killing things, even things that are usually designated as pests. And yet, when faced with a hairy black spider, what is one to do? Can’t gently carry the thing out to the yard in your palm (or at least I can’t). I did read recently about some Buddhist monks who had a horrible infestation of red fire ants, an infestation so bad that at least one of the monks had to be evacuated to a local hospital for treatment. The problem is, the monks have strict prohibitions against killing, and though they have tried to remove the colony, it apparently keeps returning. Perhaps someone should recommend a platoon of kids be released into the monastery equipped with bug vacuums.

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