Did you Know? (Cockroach Edition)

That 300 million year old fossilized cockroaches have been found?

This means they were on earth 100 million years before the dinosaurs! I found this information in the book 501 ½ Horrible Facts.

This information is also in the book Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity by Stephen Marshall. It is hard not to admire a creature that has that kind of tenacity! Cockroaches are in the order of Blattodea.

“La Cucaracha” is a Mexican song that almost everyone knows. It is a cute song about a little cockroach that is missing a leg, but she only wants to dance. Check out World Sing-along by Putamayo Kids to listen to a fun version of it.

Night of the Living Dead is a zombie movie, but a cockroach can live for a week without its head before if finally dies of thirst. Nature’s Minibeasts: Cockroaches by Clint Twist has a whole page of cockroach facts. I think I would still rather encounter headless cockroaches than zombies!

100 million years ago was during the Cretaceous period. Asteroid Impact by Doug Henderson tells how during that period an asteroid impacted the earth and caused the dinosaurs to become extinct. It tells us that many living things were able to survive and the cockroaches, being hearty little critters, were among them.

Did You Know? (Red Dye Edition)

The red dye used in many foods and cosmetics comes from the insect cochineal?

fiftyanimalsCochineals live on the nopal cactus in Mexico, and are harvested at about 3 months old. It takes about 70,000 insects to make a pound of cochineal dye!

I found this information in the book Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline on page 66. This was an interesting book; it talked about animals you would never have thought were beneficial to us.

aperfectredThe book A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield recounts the colorful history of cochineal dye and the quest by many world powers to obtain their own supplies of this beautiful dye.

You would be amazed at the amount of insects, animals and plants we are exposed to everyday. Nature in Cosmetics and Skin Care by Cyrille Corbeil will simultaneously surprise and disgust you.

fieldguidetoinsectsSome bugs can be very similar to one another and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders or The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Insects by Martin Walters will help you identify what’s bugging you

wildcolorDyes from American Native Plants: A Practical Guide by Lynne Richards and Ronald J. Tyrl and Wild Color: the Complete Guide to making and using Natural Dyes by Jenny Dean will help you make your own dyes… without having to collect bugs! And once you have your supply of dye, Fabric Dyeing for Beginners by Vimala McClure will get you started using them.

And finally, there are other things you can color besides fabric. Curious George Colors Eggs by Margaret Rey is a fun book for kids about primary color blending.

Linda