Also called the rolie-polies, wood louse, doodle bug and potato bug, these fascinating arthropods are simple to feed and maintain in colonies, will reproduce in captivity, and one species can even cohabitate with red wigglers for a compost bin that is abut 3 times as efficient as worms on their own.
Most species will need to be on a soil-based substrate with decomposing plant material: hardwoods such as oak, apple, or birch are good for them. They also eat some household veggies and fruits, occasional protein scraps, and with their habit of skeletonizing leaves, they make a fantastic in-class addition to a composting program.
No isopods can be released outdoors. Cultures may come with some microfauna.
Porcellio laevis, "WILD-TYPE"
Ideal for volume composting, will eat things Red Wigglers will not. When combined with red wigglers, the bin is more efficient, but castings are harder to harvest. Great science project companions.
SMALL (12-15 isopods) $15.00
LARGE (30-35 isopods) $30.00
Porcellio laevis, "DAIRY COW"
Same as above! But FANCY. This is a spotted variant, very pretty, but just as easy to care for. Ideal for volume composting, will eat things Red Wigglers will not. When combined with red wigglers, the bin is more efficient, but castings are harder to harvest. Great science project companions.
SMALL (12-15 isopods) $20.00
Porcellioniedes pruinosus "POWDER ORANGE"
P pruinosus is not very good for handling, so these are not great if you are wanting to interact with them. They do, however, make a great addition to almost any terrarium: being extremely hardy, with a wide diet. They are a medium sized isopod, growing to about 1 CM in length.
SMALL (12-15 isopods) $15.00
Armadillium maculatum, "ZEBRA ISOPODS"
Specialty care required: these are not quite as hardy as the other two, and prefer drier conditions. Howevver, they do roll up into a perfect sphere when disturbed (like an armadillo), and are beautiful, so definitely worth it. Their diet consists primarily of decomposing plant material such as hardwoods.
SMALL (12-15 isopods) $25.00
Red Wiggler Worms (Eisenia fetida) are one of the best indoor composters there are. Compact, efficient, and odorless, they provide an excellent in-classroom enrichment project for a vermiculture unit such as Waste And Our World.
Red wiggler worms:
-cannot be released outdoors and can last indefinitely
-are non-native and destructive
-are NOT bait worms: do not use them as fishing bait.
1/2 pound of worms in 5 pounds of custom mixed substrate, including cocoons, mature castings, and some food. Bin not included.
Also included is our very amazing instructions, and a lifetime membership to the Worm Rancher Club, which gets you all the worm advice you'll ever need from our laboratory experts.
RED WIGGLER COMPOSTING BIN RENTAL
ONE-TIME DEPOSIT $45.00
Refundable if bin is returned in good condition: with healthy soil, no die off, and no other issues
MONTHLY FEE $10.00
Ootheca are available in March and April.
Hatchlings are sold in batches of 3, and are available from April to October, as quantities last.
Mantis: available as ootheca (egg cases) or as hatchlings. We do not sell adults. All are Tenodera sinensis, the Chinese Mantis, and though they are approved for agricultural release in most of Canada, we do not advocate for releasing non-native predators into the wild. These mantis grow to be 4 inches long and eat everything from butterflies and bees to wasps and spiders.
They will not naturally survive most winter temperatures across Canada, though there are some regions they are naturalized.
MANTIS OOTHECA (egg case) $16.00
MANTIS HATCHLINGS KIT $39.00
Includes 3 mantis nymphs in 3 rearing containers, and a cup with a lot of flies as starter food
FRUIT FLY REFILL (1 part) $12.00
Just a cup of live flies, no extra supplies.
TRIASSIC TRIOPS - $19.00
Triops are actual prehistoric creatures that have not changed in over 200 million years. Considered "living fossils," these make an excellent side project for your classroom or at home, or anywhere you can keep a small aquarium, though their success rates can be unpredictable.
Just fill a clean glass or plastic container with bottled spring water, and watch them grow from near invisibility into 2-inch aquatic critters!
Your kit will contain Triop eggs, food, instructions, and everything you need to raise them. Life cycle experiments can be repeated and completed by adjusting temperature and light levels.
Butterfly Wings N' Wishes respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Saulteaux, Niisitapi, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our business, our way of life, and our community. Their spiritual and practical relationships with the land create a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community.
Other Living Science Projects
Enrich your classroom, home, or children`s life with some of our fascinating projects designed to connect you with your environment.
Mantis - Red Wiggler Worms - Isopods - Superworms - Leafcutter Bees
We are currently working only with Leafcutter bees. We do sell out in advance, so please order early.
We do not sell european honeybees.
Leafcutter bees, like many others found in Alberta, do not form hives and raise their offspring in solitude. Solitary bees are expert pollinators who outperform European Honeybees when it comes to pollination, as they are adapted to our climate and seasonal weather changes.
Leafcutter bees are a summer bee, becoming active in June-July. They require one month at warm temperatures to complete their metamorphosis: so we ship early, and you must care for them during that process.
LEAFCUTTER BEE COCOONS $19.00
40-50 cocoons: shipping mid-May
DARKLING BEETLE KIT
Darkling Beetles (Zohopbas morio) are a small, non-biting beetle with hardbodied larvae popular in the pet industry as food for reptiles. If you rear the larvae, they undergo a full metamorphosis just like butterflies! They are very harmless making them great for handling, teaching about life cycles, and observing in the classroom. The larvae also will eat styrofoam and turn it into compost, which is pretty cool.
Available year round unless the weather is below -20. This kit ships on Mondays: in order to be in time for shipping the following Monday, your order must be placed by Thursday at noon.
Superworms cannot be released outdoors.
Superworm Kit (zophobas morio) $24.00
12 superworm larvae of varying sizes, plus supplies for rearing: 1 lb bedding/food, containers for rearing and pupating, egg carton