Mexican Jumping Beans. Yes...most of us had Mexican Jumping Beans to play with as kids. We put the jumping beans on the table and watched them move with amazement.
Mexican Jumping Beans have been sold as novelty items for years and years.
So what are they and why do they move.
Mexican Jumping Beans, from an area along near the border of Mexico and the US, have a insect like moth larvae inside the shell. As long as the shell stays somewhat wet, the larvae will continue to live and will eventually decide to come out of the nut.
The Mexican jumping bean bug, larvae that is, opens a trap door and climbs out to soon turn into a...
Jumping Bean Moth....not so much a pest control problem in the US, but just over the border in Mexico...a royal pest control pain in the farmers bottom. Jumping Bean Moths live but a few days...just long enough to lay eggs...and die.
Don't freeze the Mexican Jumping Bean because it will kill the larvae. Do not let the jumping bean totally dry out or the jumping bean will die. Best to soak the Mexican jumping bean for awhile and then the jumping bean larvae will continue to move around inside or pull on the threads of silk he wove inside...to make the jumping bean move...roll...and other gyrations that have made kids and adults smile whenever they see a Mexican Jumping Bean laying on a table or in a bag at the store.
Oh, not to worry, the Border Police don't have a problem with you bringing back Mexican Jumping Beans. That is just another myth that your parents told you to make these little moving beans more exciting when you were playing with them.