Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Aquatic Entomology Post

Bad news for Ephemera danica, a victim of global climate change. Serious implications for everything else too.

Also, the larvae of dragonfly Leucorrhinia intacta demonstrate that stress can be really bad for you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Spiders

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

I've been seeing lots of spiders in Halloween yard decorations this year. More than ever it seems like! If you live in Kentucky, you can see a bunch of them all at once along Louisville's famed Hillcrest Avenue, whose residents go all out for the holiday (you can see a YouTube video of Haunted Hillcrest Highlights from 2009 here).

The problem with some of the Halloween spiders that I see, though, is that they don't always look very scary, even when they are supposed to. I think the key to making your Halloween spider scarier is to make it a little more realistic. A simple way to do this is to apply one of the most basic facts about spider anatomy to your decoration project: a spider's legs are on its head (cephalothorax) and not its abdomen.

To illustrate this, let's compare two cartoon spiders:

Spider 1

Spider 2

As you can see, both spiders are nearly identical, except that Spider 1 has its legs incorrectly attached to it abdomen, rather than its head, as in Spider 2, which shows a more anatomically correct configuration.

Obviously, both of these spiders are very simple, but to me Spider 2 looks not only more realistic, but also creepier, all because of the position of its legs. I think that this is related to the reason why we find spiders scary in the first place: the fact that their legs are attached to their heads instead of their "bodies" makes them appear very alien and bizarre to us.

So the next time that you are buying a spider decoration, or making your own, pay attention to the position of its legs. By attaching the legs to the head instead of the abdomen, you'll be taking 8 simple steps toward a more realistic, and scarier, Halloween decoration!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beer bottle beetles.

Very funny entomology news although it should be looked at seriously as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

UK At The Half

A "UK At The Half" segment--read by "Touchdown Kentucky" Carl Nathe, aka the voice of UK Football--featuring the Entomology Department's 120th Anniversary is scheduled for broadcast during Saturday's UK vs UL game! Listen for our segment, and go Cats!

After the game, we'll post the audio segment on our website.

Visit Carl Nathe's official media hub here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept 8: 120 Year Celebration

Join us this Thursday (Sept 8, 2011) from 6-9pm at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts to celebrate the Department of Entomology's 120th Anniversary! The FREE event begins with a reception (refreshments included) from 6-7pm, where you can meet your entomologists and take a guided tour of our Art of Insect Illustration exhibit that is currently on display in the adjacent UK Art Museum. Also on hand will be historical artifacts and a live insect zoo.

Then at 7pm, Dr. Gary Miller (USDA) will present "Worms, Castles, & Boiled Shirts: Insects and the Civil War." Dr. Miller will be followed by UK's Urban Entomologist (and world termite authority) Dr. Mike Potter who will give "The History of Bed Bugs - with Lessons from the Past."

Read more about our 120th Anniversary here:

And here is the press release for the Sept 8th event from UKNOW:

Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Kentucky State Fair: 4-H Entomology Winners

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

The winners of the 2011 4-H St. Fair insect collection competition have been chosen, and they are currently on display at the Kentucky St. Fair in Cloverville. We had a lot of very nice collections this year, with 27 total entries. Congratulations to all of the winners, and to everyone who participated!

Here are the Class Champions for each project:
1st Year (Class 687): Cody Hart, Metcalfe County
2nd Year (Class 688): Gabe Stephenson, Grant County
3rd Year (Class 689): Leslie Pike, Larue County
4th Year (Class 690): Sandra Brock, Harrison County

And the overall Grand Champion for Entomology was also Leslie Pike from Larue County.

Learn more about making a 4-H Entomology Collection.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Facebook Page: Kentucky Bugs

Like us! Become our friend!

We've just created a new Facebook page called Kentucky Bugs. It is maintained by extension Professor Dr. Lee Townsend, and it is regularly updated with pictures of insects and other arthropods that are seasonally active. It's an easy way to learn about Kentucky insects, and it can keep you updated on those creatures that are out-and-about during different times of the year.

Visit Kentucky Bugs here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kentucky-Bugs/262237810453730

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kentucky Pollinator Park!

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

I love it when a plan comes together! Last year, several agencies/entities/organizations (including the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the Kentucky Horse Park, and my group, UK Extension) got together to improve a portion of the Cane Run watershed at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Cane Run creek runs from Lexington to Georgetown, Ky, and supplies some of Georgetown's drinking water. In recent years, the Cane Run has become impaired. Pollution (everything from erosion to heat to livestock waste) has become common in the Cane Run, which runs through a variety of rural, urban, and industrial areas in Fayette and Scott counties.

One of the ways to mitigate negative impacts to a watershed is to encourage riparian buffer zones. The riparian zone is the area next to a river or stream. In natural Kentucky landscapes, a riparian zone is typically thick with trees and other plants. In heavily managed urban and agricultural areas, though, riparian zones are often mowed right up to the banks. This can create several problems. The loss of shade heats the water, which can kill aquatic insects. Who cares about aquatic insects? You do, because fish can't live without aquatic insects to eat. Also, when streamside vegetation isn't allowed to grow, there isn't an extensive root system in the riparian zone. Without a root system, you get erosion, which destroys property and adds sediment to streams.

In Spring 2011, the Friends of Cane Run installed a riparian buffer at a section of the Cane Run Creek at the Kentucky Horse Park. The buffer consists of a variety of native plants, and it solves lots of problems at once. For one thing, the new plantings are a beautiful addition to the Horse Park landscape; the native flowers truly thrive in the Kentucky sunshine. More importantly, by installing native plants, invasive weeds (like honeysuckle and winter creeper) are discouraged. The new installation also works to truly "buffer" negative impacts: its roots soak up pollutants (like excess nitrogen) and its foliage helps to block the heat of the sun. This helps to protect the delicate aquatic insects (a.k.a. fish food!) that live in the water.

But the buffer doesn't just benefit the aquatic insects! It's also a terrific habitat for pollinators. Native plants like coneflowers and bee balm provide lots of food for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Pictured below are some of the plants.

So now, the horse park is kind of like a pollinator park! Read more about the project (which was a part of last year's World Equestrain Games) here, and see a video of the project on YouTube.

You Can Create a Buffer Too!

Many of us live along streams and creeks, and installing a riparian buffer zone is a great way to help improve a local watershed. And there are several ways to do it. Gardeners might enjoy taking the native-plant approach, similar to what was accomplished at the horse park. But it doesn't have to be that much work. In fact, sometimes it doesn't have to be ANY WORK AT ALL! In some areas, you can create a riparian buffer simply by leaving the stream's edge unmowed, and by allowing native trees and shrubs to establish themselves in the riparian zone. You can read more about creating a riparian buffer here.

Read more about the Cane Run Watershed, and become a friend on Facebook!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scorplings at the Explorium

A baby scorpion is called a "scorpling." I just learned this today... because our mamma scorpion just gave birth to about a dozen of them! They will ride on her back for a few weeks until they can live on their own:

The proud mamma is one of ten emperor scorpions that are on display at our new Small World exhibit at the Lexington Explorium (AKA the Lexington Children's Museum). Small World--a partnership between UK Entomology and the Lexington Explorium--is a permanent entomology exhibit featuring several live arthropods, including scorpions, tarantulas, darkling beetles, aquatic insects, and lots of other cool things. It just opened in April, and we are very proud of it. The exhibit is open Tuesday-Sunday (and Mondays in the summer) and admission is included with a ticket to the Explorium. Even more fun: every Saturday is Small World Saturday, when representatives from UK Entomology will be on-hand from 10am-1pm to answer questions about the exhibit, and about entomology in general. And come early, because feedin' time on Saturday is 10am... if you're lucky, you might get to throw a cricket into the scorpion cage!

So come visit us this Saturday, June 11, from 11am-2pm, and don't forget to offer our mamma scorpion "congratulations" (and you'll need to say it twelve times... one for each scorpling). Click here for Explorium directions and ticket information.

Read more about our new Small World exhibit: http://goo.gl/GW0q9

Friday, May 20, 2011

Beetle vs. Frog

It is always amazing to see an insect (or insect relative) successfully prey upon vertebrates or other creatures that are considered to be more-advanced, or higher on the food chain.

We already know that giant water bugs (Kentucky natives!) are able to catch and eat fish and frogs. And many people have probably seen videos of giant tropical centipedes preying upon mice and snakes. There are even reports of praying mantids capturing hummingbirds.

But today I learned that beetles will attack and eat frogs!

Most of the time, beetles do not eat frogs. Instead, they are usually frog-food. American toads, in particular, seem to love eating ground beetles. But scientists have recently discovered that a type of predatory ground beetle will--in captivity, anyway--attack and kill frogs. You can read about the study here. This study was based out of Israel and was conducted with ground beetles in the Epomis genus. I don't think that these beetles are found in the United States, but we do have some species of ground beetles in Kentucky that are similar in shape and size, such as the so-called Searchers in the Calosoma genus. I wonder if our beetles will eat frogs? Sounds like it's time for a death-match! Um, I mean, an experiment.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cicadas in Western Kentucky

Periodical cicadas are currently emerging in western Kentucky. This happens to be a 13-year brood: the cicadas that we witnessed in central Kentucky a few years ago were a 17-year brood. Read more about the current emergence at Dr. Lee Townsend's Brood XIX Watch. And you can read more about the differencees between annual cicadas and periodical cicadas at our Critter File: Cicadas.

I hope to get a chance to see the ones in western KY this year. I love the sight and sound of periodical cicadas, and I probably won't get to see them again in central Kentucky until 2025!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

bugged by semantics

Really good article about the usage of the word "bug" by entomologists

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harwood Lab Amblypygid

A few posts ago, I mentioned the amblypygid that I spotted on an episode of Survivor. I forgot that one of our Entomology laboratories, the Harwood Lab, keeps it's very own pet amblypygid!

Kelton Welch, one of the lab members, manged to get a very good image of the creature as it fed on a cricket:

Close up:

Pretty fearsome looking, right? Actually, the creature is only about an inch long, and it is harmless to humans. It is possible to keep amblypygids as pets, but they require very specific conditions: high humidity, lots of crickets, and "vertical" hiding places (such as pieces of bark placed upright and stacked against each other). Here again is the link to the Wikipedia entry for these fascinating creatures.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bugs-All-Day: April 16, 2011

Join us at the Explorium of Lexington on Saturday, April 16th, 10am-2pm, for Bugs-All-Day. Members of the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology will be there with live bugs, games, and other fun stuff.

April 16th will also be the grand opening of Small World, a permanent exhibit that the Explorium has created in partnership with UK Entomology. Small World will feature a variety of live critters, including a Chaco Golden Knee tarantula, giant millipedes, aquatic insects, and a giant centipede.

Admission to Bugs-All-Day and Small World is included with the regular Explorium admission price. Read more about the Explorium, including directions and parking information, at their website.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Survivor: Redemption Island -- Arthropod Watch

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist

I'm still a Survivor fan after all these years. On this blog, I occasionally mention some of the critters that I notice on the show. At the end of last week's episode, I saw an amblypygid crawling on a tree during one of the night-vision segments. Amblypygids, also known as tailless whip scorpions, have a very strange appearance. To me, they look like the facehuggers from Alien. And some of them can get pretty big. They are basically harmless to people, though.

Amblypygids don't live in Kentucky, but they are found in some of the sub-tropical parts of the United States, like Florida. You can read more about these fascinating critters on this Wikipedia entry.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bugs of Spring

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

It's official: today is the first full day of spring! In Kentucky, that means mild, humid weather. And that also means bugs. This is bad news for some people, but for entomologists, it's a time for joy. It's also a good time for educators. Kids and teachers are typically trapped inside most of the school year, but spring is a time when some classrooms have an opportunity to get outside. And one of the easiest ways for a K-12 science class to take advantage of the outdoors is to study and observe insects. Insects are present in every kind of outdoor habitat, and they start appearing on mild days in early spring.

Recently, Scott Darst, (4-H Agent, Madison County Kentucky) called us and said that he was planning to take some kids outside this spring, and he wanted to know what kinds of insects you can expect to see on the earliest spring days. Here are some of them:

Butterflies. Some butterfly species overwinter as fully-grown adults (or spend the winter as pupa) and are ready to take advantage of wildflower-nectar on the first mild spring days. Some of the ones that I see in early spring in Kentucky are Commas, Question Marks, and some of the so-called Sulphurs and Whites. Yesterday, I saw one of the Whites (probably a Cabbage Butterfly).

Bees. Like butterflies, bees are pollinators, so they are ready for spring wildflowers, too. Honey Bees and several other types of bees are commonly seen on early spring days. Yesterday, I saw a large Carpenter Bee visiting daffodils in my yard.

Flies. Several types of flies are common in early spring. House Flies and their kin become active on mild winter days and early spring days to take advantage of carrion and other decaying materials that begin to thaw as winter comes to an end. Crane flies breed in cool wet areas, so spring is a time for them to thrive.

Spiders. While spiders are probably most-commonly noticed in late summer and early fall in Kentucky, there are several types that are active as soon as mild temperatures return in the spring. Furrow Spiders are one of the few types of orb-weavers that overwinter as adults, and they can be seen making webs in spring. I have also already seen a Bold Jumping Spider this spring. These large jumping spiders are also able to live through the winter as adults.

Others. Although the critters mentioned above are among the most noticeable early-spring insects, there are many more that you might encounter, too. Ants are already moving in Kentucky, and so are some of the wasp species. I have also seen a Boxelder Bug. Also, aquatic insects (like mayfly and stonefly naiads and caddisfly larvae) thrive in cool water, so spring is a great time to find them if you are willing to get a little bit wet!

So get out there and hunt for some bugs. If it's a sunny day and the temperature is above 50°F, I guarantee that you will find some, and it's also pretty likely that--even though bugs are involved--you'll have a better time than you would sitting inside!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Go Spiders!

The Richmond Spiders men's basketball team is currently playing in their conference championship game. They did well last year, too. I'll continue to cheer for them until they have to play UK!

The Spiders have a lame mascot:

But a very cool logo:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zombie Fungi

Here's a link to a cool story, including a video, of fungi that parasitize insects and turn them into "zombies."


Although these fungi don't actually reanimate dead insects, they do have the ability to influence the behavior of their hosts. A fungi-infected ant, for instance, will engage in behaviors that will make it more likely to spread the fungus to other members of its colony. Imagine if--when you were sick with the flu--you had an uncontrollable urge to walk up to people and sneeze on them!

Although the specific fungi mentioned in the article are newly-discovered, this phenomenon has been known in insects for a long time. In addition to fungi, some viral diseases are also able to affect similar zombie-style behavior in their insect hosts. Luckily, none of these diseases are able to infect humans!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mazda Spyder

Mazda is having problems with spiders. As it turns out, the "evaporative canister vent line" in their Mazda 6 sedan is a perfect habitat for Yellow Sac Spiders. These spiders like to take up residence in tiny, tube-like spaces, so this isn't too surprising.

Here is the story from CNN:

Yellow Sac Spiders, by the way, are very common in the U.S. They are often found in homes, and are sometimes mistaken for Brown Recluse Spiders because they have a similar shape. Read more about Yellow Sac Spiders.

UPDATE: A journalist from L.A. just called us to ask some questions about this story. I told him that I'm not really an expert on Yellow Sac Spiders, but I gave him the best info that I could. Can't wait to see if my name shows up in a report!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Quoted in USA Today. Cool!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Invasive Beetle Intercepted at KY Airport

According to WLEX News, U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovered a potentially destructive exotic beetle in unclaimed baggage at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport last week.

The insect was the Khapra beetle. The beetle is believed to have originated in Asia, and it is an important pest of stored grains. The critter has actually been found in the U.S. a few times before, but it's spread has been stopped each time. It looks like they successfully stopped it this time, too.

You can read the report here:

And here is a more detailed version of the story from The Cypress Times:

And you can read more about the beetle in this USDA-APHIS Response Guidelines factsheet:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bed Bug Video

New video on CNN showcasing bed-bug sniffing dogs:

These dogs are somewhat controversial. Apparently, they can sometimes give a "false positive." But there is no doubt that they are a useful tool against bed bugs. And there is also no doubt that they are cute!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Myth Slayer

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist

In the news today: the guitarist for heavy-metal band Slayer (a band that became famous in the 1980s for--among other things--pioneering a style of incredibly fast double-bass drumming) has been diagnosed with a form of flesh-eating disease. In news reports (like this one from the Toronto Sun), it has been speculated that the disease was caused by a spider bite.

While it is possible that the wound was caused by a spider bite, it was probably caused by something else. Over the last twenty-years or so, spiders like the brown recluse have gotten a nasty reputation, and they are often blamed for causing necrotic (that is: flesh-eating) wounds. While some studies have shown that these spiders ARE capable of causing such wounds, other, more recent studies show that these spiders probably do not bite people very often, and that necrotic wounds are usually caused by bacterial infections.

You can read more about the myths and misconceptions about the brown recluse and other spiders at Rick Vetter's website at the University of California-Riverside:

I'm going to call Rick the Spider-Myth Slayer. He has been working with brown recluses and other spiders for many years, and he has gathered voluminous evidence (from experiments, surveys, and literature searches) which suggests that brown recluses and other spiders probably don't cause many necrotic wounds. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence: while the brown recluse lives only in the central part of the U.S., brown-recluse bites are diagnosed by physicians all over the U.S.

When I preach about this subject, people often think that I am sticking up for brown recluse spiders. I'm a spider-hugger, right? This is only partially true. Sure--as an entomologist, I like spiders, and I feel bad when they are needlessly killed. But spiders are not the primary causality of the brown-recluse myth. The truth is: within their range, brown recluses can be VERY common. There is no way that people could wipe them out, even if they wanted to. No, I worry about these myths because they can cause people to become very afraid of spiders. They become so scared that they are uncomfortable inside their own homes. I think this is very unfortunate. I'm around these spiders all day, and there are few things that I find less frightening. They are not aggressive, they don't like to be around people, and most scientific evidence indicates that they don't cause many bites, even when they live (sometimes, by the hundreds!) inside homes. I was staying in someone's home in Oklahoma recently. Oklahoma is in the heart of brown-recluse territory. The brown recluses were so common in the home that you could see them on the walls at night (see picture below, taken with my phone camera at about 10pm). It didn't bother me in the slightest. No one in the house has even been bitten by a spider, by the way.

It is important to add that, while I'm not scared of brown recluse spiders, I am cautious around them. When I feed the ones in our lab, I make sure that I never touch them, and that they cannot escape. So if you see them around, keep your distance. And if you have a bunch of them in your home (unlikely in most parts of Kentucky), you may consider contacting a pest-control professional. But what you should not do is become frightened. These spiders are very unlikely to cause a problem.

Back to Jeff Hanneman, the guitarist for Slayer. Whatever caused his illness, I hope that he has a speedy recovery. I also hope that when he recovers, he does not become fearful of brown recluses and other spiders. Fear can kill happiness, but it can't stop wounds, whether they're caused by spider bites, bacterial infections, or head-bangin'!

Read more about Brown Recluse Spiders in our online factsheet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bed Bug Assurance

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

I just saw a commercial for a national hotel chain. In the commercial, a person was getting ready for bed, but she decided not to climb into the hotel bed because she was worried that the bed was dirty. So she changed into a yellow hazmat-style suit and then prepared to tuck herself in. The commercial went on to say that in Our Brand (I can't remember which brand!) of hotels, the bed linens are always freshly cleaned for each customer. The commercial did not mention bed bugs, but that was the first thing that came to my mind. I wonder if they were trying to imply that their beds were less likely to have bed bugs than other hotels? Probably not--I think I am reading too much into it.

But I wonder if hotels will ever begin to promote some kind of a bed-bug-free guarantee? I can't find anything like this on the net, and I can't predict whether this will happen in the future or not. On the one hand, it might be a good idea: if you can convince customers that YOUR hotel is bed bug free, and that other hotels are infested, you might get some customers. On the other hand, hotels probably don't want people to think about bed bugs AT ALL. We'll see.

In the meantime, you can take a look at the Bed Bug Registry. This is an online resource that purports to track bed bug infestations in hotels across the U.S. and Canada. It is based on user-submitted data. Please note: I do not know much about this site, and I cannot validate the accuracy of the info presented there. In fairness, though, the site doesn't guarantee accuracy either. Here is a statement from their FAQ:

How can you be sure these reports are true?
We can't - this is the Internet! All our bedbug reports are submitted through the site, and have not been vetted for accuracy. We do our best to flag posts that have been disputed, but we remind our readers to take things with a grain of salt.

Some reports are posted by malicious tenants. Some are posted by evil competitors. Some are posted by hypochondriacs.

So, if you use that site, be aware that just because a hotel appears on the list, that doesn't mean that it EVER had bed bugs. Also, a hotel may have treated the infestation since being flagged on the site. And, of course, just because a hotel isn't on the list, that does not mean that it is bed bug free.

Read more about Bed Bugs in our online factsheet.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beetle For The People

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist

In last night's Volkswagen commercial from the SuperBowl, I spied:
-a dragonfly
-bess beetles
-a centipede

Anything else? Also, does anyone have any idea what type of beetle the "main character" was supposed to be?

Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Become Afraid

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomologist

When I was a kid, I was frightened of insects and spiders. Especially spiders. Once, when I was about ten, I was riding in a truck with my grandfather when I noticed that a bright green spider was crawling on my arm. Freak out! I literally began to squeal. High-pitched, cyclic, little-baby squealing. My grandfather was very irritated, but to his credit (and unlike me), he kept his cool. He simply flicked it off of my arm and said "relax kid, it's just a spider." Explicative deleted.

It's no secret that lots of people are scared of spiders. Snakes, too. But where does the fear come from? Is it genetic? Perhaps our ancestors survived because they were afraid of these creatures--some of which really are dangerous--and they passed the fear on down the line. Or, maybe the fear is learned. After all, not all of us are afraid of spiders and snakes.

A new scientific study suggests that fear is learned, rather than inherited. In the study, babies spent more time paying attention to images of ANYTHING (be it snake, spider, or elephant) if a "fearful voice" was playing at the same time. This suggests that people are not born scared, but that they are quickly able to learn (from adults, for instance) which things are dangerous in their environment.

Here is a summery of the study from U.S. News: http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/01/26/people-arent-born-afraid-of-spiders-and-snakes-fear-is-quickly-learned-during-infancy

So, if fear is learned... can it be unlearned?

I was once terrified of insects and spiders. But I'm not anymore. So what happened? Did I forget to be afraid? No. In fact, fear is what propelled me into this career. I didn't unlearn anything. Instead, I learned. And learned and learned. One of the things that I learned: what is dangerous in the insect/spider world, and what is not.

As it turns out, the vast majority of insects and spiders are harmless. And the ones that are potentially dangerous (at least in our part of the world), are pretty easy to recognize, even for non-entomologists: bees, wasps, hornets, black widow spiders, mosquitoes, ticks... and that's about it. Just a handful of species--out of more than 1 million species of insects and spiders in the world, and ten-thousand in Kentucky alone--are capable of sending a person to the hospital, and most of those are easily avoided.

This is not to say that insects can't be dangerous. Stinging bees/wasps and disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks kill millions of people per year. But most people aren't scared of those. Not in that "get it away from me!" kind of way. When I was a kid, the last thing I was scared of was a tick or a mosquito. And even though I knew that bees could sting, I wasn't really scared of them. Not in the way that I was scared of that little green spider. Or, for no reason that I can explain, mayfly nymphs.

These days, I know that the little green spider was probably the Magnolia Green Jumper (Lyssomanes viridis). I know that it's harmless because all spiders in Kentucky other than the black widow and the brown recluse are harmless.

Once of the things that struck me when I was reading about that psychological study: it said that the babies paid more attention to the "fearful" things. This meant that they found the scary things interesting. I think this is why I became an entomologist. Instead of avoiding my fear, I followed it. I tracked it. With a bright flashlight. As my knowledge grew, the light got even brighter. Eventually, I chased my fear into a corner. It's still there, but it's small and weak. So I didn't lose it. And I didn't unlearn it. But the thing is, I was afraid of just two things: insects and spiders. But now there over 1 million things (and ten-thousand in Kentucky!) that I'm not afraid of.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Insects as Food

It would seem the school board in New Boston, Ohio is upset about boll weevil-contaminated noodles being served as lunch to local students. But perhaps they should read this article.

Those weren't just boll weevils.

They were also an environmentally friendly protein supplement!