Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Get Buggy, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,571 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,327 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

To help my sweetie-pie neighbor, Piper, earn her Beginner Level Garden Gate/Get Buggy Merit Badge, I devised a sneaky plan.

Well, maybe it wasn’t sneaky, but it sure was clever (if I do say so myself … and I do).

You see, like a lot of little ones—especially the female ones—Piper wasn’t overly fond of insects. Maybe it was their spindly little legs; maybe it was their ability to appear when they’re least wanted; maybe it’s because her brother, Joey, likes to toss them on her head … well, whatever the reason, I was bound and determined to change Piper’s outlook on all things buggy.

photo by Dominik Stodulski via Wikimedia Commons

We started with a scavenger hunt (the ones we can’t find in our area, we simply looked up online). That’s right, a scavenger hunt of the bug variety! No little kiddo can resist a scavenger hunt. Golly, I can’t resist one either, actually … which explains why I was up in an oak tree chasing a fuzzy caterpillar earlier this afternoon.

MBA Jane’s Buggy Hunt

A. Ladybug

B. Bumblebee

C. Dung beetle

D. Silkworm

E. Cochineal

F. Blowflies

G. Honeybee

H. Fruit flies

Next, we matched the bugs to their helpful qualities:

1. Let’s hear it for pollinators!

2. Eats … um, poop. Well, somebody’s gotta do it, right?!

3. This guy helps scientists in the laboratory with genetics and biology, though they don’t make white lab coats small enough for him.

4. Can you say ‘honey,’ and ‘beeswax?’

5. We appreciate these bugaboos for producing red dye for clothing, lipstick, and food. Although we really only appreciate the cloth part … ugh for the other two!

6. Eats aphids. Better them than us!

7. Makes silk for cloth. Gotta love a set of decadent silk pillowcases on a hot summer’s night. Thanks, buggies.

8. Doctors use these handy bugs—that are members of the maggot family—to help stop infections. Wow!

At the end of our little hunt and educational bonding time, Piper and I felt like real entomologists. We had a brand-new love and gratitude for the tiniest members of the animal kingdom (although we couldn’t find a good reason for the existence of cockroaches or mosquitoes, no matter how hard we tried).

And we barely jumped at all when Joey flicked a few Daddy Long Legs at us.

photo by James Petts via Wikimedia Commons

*Answers to Jane and Piper’s Entomology Hunt









  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I got 5 correct, which is better than I thought it would be. Looks like I need to spend more time learning about these everyday insects!

  2. Karlyne says:

    Blowflies are used by doctors to stop infection? Now that’s something I had no idea of!

  3. feeling buggy, got em all right-yayay-used to have a gorgeous antique woven coverlet that was cochineal dyed- wonderful magenta kind of color

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