Posts Tagged: Gwen Pearson
Fact is, bugs bug people. Birds bug bugs. Bugs bug bugs. If you've ever seen a praying mantis lying in wait for a bee or a ladybug snatching an aphid, or a dragonfly grabbing a hover fly, you know they do. Bugs bug bugs.
In the insect world, people seem to love only butterflies, bees, ladybugs and dragonflies, as evidenced by bug-inspired clothing, jewelry or tattooes. They do not like bed bugs, knats and mosquitoes.
When you think about it, there are about a million described species of insects in the world, "more than five times the number of all animals combined," according to emeritus professor Jerry Powell in his book, California Insects. "Estimates of the number remaining to be discovered and named vary from 1.5 to 5 million or more."
We all talk about the good, the bad and the bugly. The good: the honey bee. The bad: the mosquito. The bugly: the praying mantis.
So it was interesting today that Organic Pest Control of New York City named the world's top 50 bug blogs/pest control blogs. You can see the list here. Geographically, they range from California to Singapore to the UK. "These sites were shown to have valuable, fresh and frequently updated content that is helpful in both entomology and the pest control industry," according to the website.
At least two blogs have UC Davis connections. Biologist and noted insect photographer Alex Wild of the University of Illinois, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis with major professor/ant specialist Phil Ward, is listed for his Myrmecos (that means ant) blog.
The other blog with the UC Davis connection: yours truly with Bug Squad.
Here's what the website said about about the first 10 on the list:
Bug Girl's Blog (Charismatic Minifauna)
This blogger has a PhD in entomology (insect study) and is not afraid to share her fascination through the blog. Another standout feature of the blog is her knowledge of how to control insect populations without the use of pesticides. Top posts include “How to Inspect Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs” and “Ask an Entomologist.” (Note: this is by Gwen Pearson, who for a long time, never revealed her true identity, not even at an Entomological Society of America meeting.)
Visit here for a blog by Illinois-based biologist and photographer Alex Wild. The blog's name is derived from the Greek word for ant and contains Alex's musings on the little creatures that share our planet. The galleries are a must see given Alex's love of both insects and his talent with a camera.
Insects in the City
Mike Merchant has served as entomology specialist for Texas AgriLife Extension since 1989. His areas of specialty involve research on the insects that effect people including spiders, scorpions, fire ants, termites, and others. Get pest control from an academic point of view by stopping at his blog.
This blog is named after a quote from Joseph Krutch on the human standpoint on insects. Alison also fills her blog with other discoveries on insects and closer looks at them. Everything from ants to wolf spiders are featured.
Butterflies of Singapore
Because some bugs can be downright beautiful, there is this blog. Get a look at “nature's flying jewels” without ever leaving your home. With entries dating back to 2007, there are loads of butterflies to see.
Living With Insects Blog
Jonathan Neal also has a Ph.D in entomology and teaches at Purdue University. His blog is devoted to the intersection of people and insects. Subjects such as fire ants, bees, and many more are often discussed.
Beetles In The Bush
Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. With entries on loads of common and uncommon household pests, his focus is of course the beetle. However, you can also find entries on items such as spiders, reptiles, and most recently, Bichos Argentinos.
Urban Dragon Hunters
These bloggers standout for targeting their insect research and blog towards the largely ignored urban areas. Located in Wayne County, Michigan, they have recorded 50 new species of odonata, or dragonflies. Stop by to see which and learn more about them.
Bug Squad is the blog of Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This blog, launched in 2008, is part of the University of California's Agricultural and Natural Resources website. Check for the latest research and other information.
What's That Bug?
Also known as The Bugman, Daniel Marlos is the author of “The Curious World of Bugs.” With a healthy pest-free garden in Los Angeles, he is free to explore his love of bugs, as well as share useful pest control tips. Be sure not to miss specialty posts on just about every insect in the U.S.
And, be sure to check out the other winning blogs on the company's site.
Back to the ladybug. It's not really a bug. It's a beetle. That's why scientists want us to call it "lady beetle." You can read all about the lady beetle in UC IPM's Natural Enemies Gallery. UC IPM defines natural enemies as "organisms that kill, decrease the reproductive potential of, or otherwise reduce the numbers of another organism. Natural enemies that limit pests are key components of integrated pest management programs. Important natural enemies of insect and mite pests include predators, parasites, and pathogens."
Sometimes it's good to have an enemy, a natural enemy.
Ladybug drying its wings after falling into a swimming pool. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Fly away, little ladybug! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ladybug resting on a leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Inquiring minds want to know.
At least one inquiring mind wants to know.
Journalist/cultural entomologist Emmet Brady of Davis, who reaches out to bug and non-bug people alike on his Davis-based radio show, "Insect News Network," is hosting his annual Bug-of-the-Year contest through Jan. 14. You can hear his show Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on KDRT 95.7 FM, Davis.
Last year the Australian Peacock Spider won Brady's contest. A spider? That's perfectly fine. Spiders are not insects but they fit quit well into the "Bug of the Year" candidates. And, they have excellent credentials.
And speaking of peacock spiders, you should check out Gwen Pearson's blog on Charismatic Minifauna: New Species of Peacock Spider Dances for You--and Sex and watch the video of this fascinating spider. Pearson, who holds a doctorate in entomology, initially began blogging as "The Bug Girl."
Emmet Brady urges everyone to vote, and vote often. Access the vote page here. "You can vote as many times as you like, for as many bugs as you like," Brady says, "but only one per visit, however."
And the 25 contenders? Drum roll, please:
- Yellow-Headed Soldier Fly
- Green Lynx Spider
- Monarch Butterfly
- Oregon Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
- Madagascar Sunset Moth
- Salt Marsh Tiger Beetles in Love
- Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly
- Orchid Bee
- Tizsa Flower Mayflies
- Golden Spotted Oak Borer
- Long-nosed Fly
- Praying Mantis Sculpture
- Ogre-Faced Spider
- Honey Bee
- GM Mosquito
- Asian Citrus Psyllid
- T Mirror Spider
- Himalayan Spider
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
- The Map Butterfly
- Ant-Mimick Tree Hopper
- Bird-Dropping Spider
- Elephant Hawk-Moth Caterpillar
Brady kindly lists their qualifications. For example, he writes about the honey bee:
"The perennial candidate for the BOTY, the honey bee is perhaps the most important insect to human civilization. They represent in many ways a pinnacle of invertebrate evolution, as well as a complex and mystical interdependence with humans. The bee has significance in almost every facet of our existence: ecological, economic, spiritual, historical, psychological, artistic, biomimetic and sociological. Honey bees belong to the genus Apis, with 7 species worldwide. There were no 'true' honey bees in the Western Hemisphere until the 17th century. They embody a omnipresent contradiction in modern ecology: today, there are more honey bees on the planet than at any time in history. However, the use of bees as agricultural tools has led to mismanagement and disrespect, as their commercial numbers have plummeted as much as 60 percent in the past 20 years."
If none of these bugs is for you, wait--there's another one. It's called "other."
Just type in your favorite. Either way, this bug's for you.
A honey bee heading toward an almond blossom. The honey bee is one of the candidates for Insect News Network's Bug of the Year. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)