This information was taken from the Fairfax County Public Schools site which is no longer published.
Field crickets are the crickets everyone sees and hears in late summer and fall. They grow up to an inch long, and are black and brown or sometimes red. They have large hind legs and two cerci (spiky things coming out of the back of their abdomens).
Female field crickets also have an ovipositor. An ovipositor is the longer spiky thing (about 3/4 inch) coming from the abdomen between the cerci.
Field crickets live mostly in fields and forest edges.
Why do they chirp?
Once field crickets are fully grown (about a month and a half after they are born) they will look for a mate. Male crickets chirp or "sing" to attract females and as a warning to other males to stay away from their territory. Female crickets can't chirp. The "song" is made by rubbing the front wings together. Since baby crickets are born in the spring, summer means they finally have fully developed wings and are able to rub them together to produce a sound. By the end of summer and beginning of fall as more and more crickets mature, they can be heard—often quite loudly—in the evenings. Females hear the song through tympanum (eardrums) on their front legs. Once a female approaches a male, he will do a move back and forth in a sort of courtship "dance."
For most species of cricket, the warmer the weather, the faster they chirp. One species of cricket, the snowy tree cricket, has been found to have such a regular chirp rate that counting the number of its chirps in 14 seconds and adding 40 will accurately tell you what temperature it is! Field crickets are most active at night. The songs of many males can be heard on summer and fall evenings. The song is usually a high trill played in threes.
After mating, female field crickets look for some damp soil to lay eggs. They inject their ovipositors, like a needle, deep into the soil. She will lay about 50 eggs at a time through her ovipositor. One female can lay over 400 eggs in her short life.
Field cricket eggs hatch in the spring, usually May. Young crickets are called nymphs. Nymphs eat a lot and grow quickly. They will molt (shed their outer skin) eight or more times as they grow up. With each molt, the nymphs look more and more like an adult. Young nymphs basically look like a cricket with no wings.
Field crickets do not survive over the winter. Any adult crickets or nymphs will die when cold weather arrives. Eggs, however, overwinter. They will survive and hatch the following spring.
Field crickets eat plant material, especially seeds, small fruits, and living and dead insects. If they are really hungry, they will even eat each other!
Predators of the field cricket include birds, frogs, toads, turtles, and other insects.
The text on this site was copied from the article What's Motion Sickness from the site kidshealth.org. This page on the site is no longer published.
If you've ever been sick to your stomach while riding in a car, train, airplane, or boat, you know exactly what motion sickness feels like. It's no fun.
To understand motion sickness, it helps to understand a few parts of your body and how they affect the way you feel movement:
The brain gets an instant report from these different parts of your body and tries to put together a total picture about what you are doing just at that moment. But if any of the pieces of this picture don't match, you can get motion sickness.
For example, if you're riding in a car and reading a book, your inner ears and skin receptors will detect that you are moving forward. However, your eyes are looking at a book that isn't moving, and your muscle receptors are telling your brain that you're sitting still. So the brain gets a little confused. Things may begin to feel a little scrambled inside your head at that point.
When this happens, you might feel really tired, dizzy, or sick to your stomach. Sometimes you might even throw up. And if you're feeling scared or anxious, your motion sickness might get even worse.
Avoiding Motion Sickness
To avoid motion sickness:
If you feel this way easily during any kind of movement, it's a good idea to go to the doctor. They will want to make sure there's nothing wrong with your inner ears or any of the other body parts that sense movement.
But for typical motion sickness, your parent may be able to give you medicine before you travel. For some kids, it may help to wear pressure bracelets that can be bought at the drugstore.
If you feel yourself getting sick while you're traveling in a car, it might help if the driver finds a safe spot where you can get out and walk around a little bit. If you can't pull over, make sure you have a plastic bag in the car — just in case!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
This information on this site is taken from the PBS Kids It's My Life site that is no longer published.
What is spaying and neutering?
The terms "spaying" and "neutering" mean the surgical removal of a pet's reproductive organs. Basically, when an animal gets spayed or neutered it will no longer be able to have babies. "Spaying" applies to female animals and "neutering" is used with males. Most people focus on the importance of spaying and neutering dogs and cats, but rabbits are also animals who benefit from this.
Why is spaying and neutering important?
Did you know that:
It has other benefits for your pet, too. Spayed animals have a lower risk of some cancers and other illnesses, and neutered animals don't have as many problems with aggression, fighting, roaming, and certain diseases.
The idea that spaying and neutering is "mean" or doesn't let your pet experience a full life is just a myth! In reality, neutered and spayed pets tend to live happier, healthier, longer lives.
When should your pet be spayed?
Most veterinarians recommend that female cats and dogs be spayed before they're six months old and males between six months to a year old. But it's never too late to have this done, even if your pet has already had a litter or two. If you adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group, chances are that you won't be able to take him or her home until the operation is performed.
How expensive is it? What if my family can't afford it?
Most animal hospitals will do this surgery for under $100, but you can have it done at a discount or even for free. Call your local shelter or animal control department to see if they offer coupons (sometimes called "vouchers") to help cover the cost of spaying and neutering at area vets. You can also contact SPAY USA at www.spayusa.org or 1-800-248-SPAY (1-800-248-7729) for advice on where to go for help in your town.
But won't I miss out on the fun of having puppies, kittens, or bunnies around?
Well, yes. But remember that animals are little for only a few months. At some point you have to find homes for these babies or commit to keeping them yourself. As they get bigger, they'll require more time and energy, especially if you already have one or more pets. So that's a lot of work for just a short amount of baby animal time! Here's an idea: if you're really dying to have a litter of kittens running around your house, talk to your family about being a temporary "foster home" for rescued baby animals. Many shelters and rescue groups are always in need of these!
I often struggle to find websites with thorough explanations in simple language to help kids understand historical events or scientific concepts, so I decided to create some of my own!