How Do You Care for Mexican Jumping Beans?

care-mexican-jumping-beans Credit: thepulitzer/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Mexican jumping beans should not be left in extreme heat or cold. The beans should not be shaken violently or dropped because this could kill them. Jumping beans don't require food, but they should be misted lightly with lukewarm water once a week to extend their lives.

When jumping beans are sprayed with water, the water should be allowed to soak into the beans for approximately five to 10 minutes, with the excess water dried off with a paper towel. Beans left wet may begin to grow mold, which shortens their lives. The beans also need exercise periodically. This is accomplished by placing them under light or in a warm place. The beans should not be allowed to remain active for extended periods because they need rest each day as well.

Mexican jumping beans aren't beans at all; they are actually the larvae of the jumping-bean moth. The female jumping-bean moth lays her eggs on the immature capsules of a shrub known as Sebastiana pavoniana. After a few weeks, the larvae hatch and eat their way inside the capsules. As the shrub's capsules mature, they begin to harden, trapping the larvae inside. The larvae eat the seed that is developing inside the capsule as food to survive. After the first spring rain, the capsules separate into three sections and fall to the ground. The capsule that contains the larvae spends a number of months jumping around on the forest floor before the larvae becomes dormant and begins to spin a cocoon inside the capsule. The larvae rests inside the cocoon as it grows into an adult moth and then emerges.