Last weekend I was reading the newspaper and I heard something insistently clicking on the table next to me.
I’d forgotten about picking these up on a whim at an airport several months ago. I thought the kids would get a kick out of them. I had jumping beans once or twice when I was younger and thought they were so exotic and cool.
A quick science lesson on the origin of jumping beans: moth larvae (Cydia deshaisiana) invade seed pods of the shrub Sebastiania pavoniana, and then the seed pods dry out and become brown or tan. The larva eats away the material inside the pods and attaches itself to the wall, where it spends several months before entering a pupal stage and eventually exiting the pod through a perfectly round hole.
Warming the beans causes the larva to twitch and “jump.”
It all comes to an end when the adult moth exits the pod, since the moths only live for a few days.
I was wrong about the appeal, though. My own kids weren’t particularly impressed. The only one paying attention to them was me.
I can’t remember how much these beans cost, but I think I overpaid.
If you’re curious, read more about jumping beans here.