Friday, December 18, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 17: The Entomology Society Awakens!

Greetings listeners! Today we will be featuring some awesome and quick interviews that occurred at the 2015 national Entomological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis, MN! I was lucky enough to meet up with 24 different scientists who all had a great story to tell! It's a marathon show of over 2 hours so buckle in and get ready to learn about some of your fellow bug people!

Apologies up front as well for some sound issues, it's hard to record in a hopping convention center! Many of our guests mentioned their cool projects that you should check out, so here are some links for you to hit up!

Breaking Bio Podcast

Bumble Boosters

On Six Legs podcast with Tom Turpin

AntGirl on YouTube!

Cicindela blog

Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT

Ants and Honey Bees Project

Livin Farms
     and their Kickstarter!

Finally, a huge thank you and shout out to The Entomological Society, Richard Levine, Laura Higgins, and Lisa Junker! 

Questions? Comments? 

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Thanks for listening!

This episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Beginning/ending theme: "There It Is" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Intermission music: "On the Road Again" by  Willie Nelson. All rights reserved. Music was obtained legally. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 16: Arctic Arachnology with Dr. Chris Buddle

Greetings bug lovers! Today we are diving into arachnology with special guest Dr. Chris Buddle of McGill University. Tune in to learn about the spiders that live in the arctic and also a bit about finding happiness in academia!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 15: Save the Bees and be a Citizen Scientist with Louise Lynch and Natalia Bjorklund

Greetings bug lovers! Today we are going to learn all about bees, how to help them, and citizen science projects! Anyone can be a scientist and help to unlock the mysteries of the insect world, so join up! In addition we use the Kermes scale for our Pest Profile and of course we catch up with the news at Entomology Today. Tune in!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 14: Aquatic Insects and Invasive Species with Dr. Josh Adkins

Hey there bug people and welcome to today's show! Today's feature interview is with aquatic entomologist and all around cool guy Josh Adkins of Transylvania University! Tune in to learn more about invasive species and their far reaching effects, what kinds of stuff water bugs like to eat, and even hear about another podcast you should check out! Up front we still have our Pest Profile and Entomology Today news so it's an episode chock full of goodness!

Some of the insects you could find in your local streams
Photo credits: I. Graziosi and J. Adkins

If you would like to read more about Josh's work with hemlock woolly adelgid you can check out one of his publications right here: 
HWA SEM Slide from - photos by K. Oten

Also be sure to check out Discovering Darwin so you can hear more of Josh's dulcet tones
Pest Profile

Yellowjackets are helpful in terms of biological control but they can also be a health hazard with their sting. If you are seeing wasps come up from the ground or are finding them in a retaining wall it is likely you are facing a colony of yellowjackets. If you have ever been confused and thought you were dealing with a honey bee colony here is a helpful picture to tell them apart. 

Yellowjacket help:

Entomology Today News

Questions? Comments? 

Follow the show on Twitter

Get the show through iTunes!

Subscribe to our feed on Feedburner!  

Thanks for listening!

This episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Beginning/ending theme: "There It Is" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Intermission music: "Wait so Long" by Trampled by Turtles. All rights reserved. Music was obtained legally. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 13: Bat-Insect Interactions with Dr. Luke Dodd

On today's show we will be slightly stepping outside of our normal arthropod parameters! Join us as we visit with bat expert Dr. Luke Dodd of Eastern Kentucky University to learn about these interesting insect predators! We also dig into bat conservation, predator/prey interactions, in addition to our usual show segments! 

Dr. Dodd in his natural habitat

One of the stars of the show, a tri-color bat

Pest Profile
The squash vine borer

The squash vine borer can attack and kill squash, pumpkin, and other gourd type plants. If you don't take care of it quick you could lose all your hard work! Tune in to hear about control methods. 
Photos by Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota
For additional help check out these links:
UNL squash vine borer help
University of Minnesota squash vine borer help
University of Kentucky squash vine borer help

Entomology Today News

David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ

Questions? Comments? 


Follow the show on Twitter

Get the show through iTunes!

Subscribe to our feed on Feedburner!  

Thanks for listening!

This episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Beginning/ending theme: "There It Is" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Intermission music: "Season of the Witch" by Bloomfield, Cooper, and Stills. All rights reserved. Music was obtained legally. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to Deal with Bagworms

Bagworms are some of the best architects in the insect world. These caterpillars take materials from the plants they live in and construct a tough bag to dwell in as they grow. The bag grows in size as they do and protects them from the elements and predators. Bagworm caterpillars have voracious appetites and can drastically damage evergreens like pine, spruce, juniper, arborvitae, and cedar and will occasionally feed on deciduous trees. Luckily we have several tools at our disposal to eliminate these hungry, hungry caterpillars.

Young bagworms just getting started in a tree (Photo courtesy of Jim Kalisch, UNL Entomology)

For the best control you need to understand this pest’s unique life cycle.
  •       In the early summer (May-June) bagworm eggs will hatch and the small caterpillar will build their home. You may notice small triangular shaped objects moving in your bush or shrub. Some will stick around the plant they hatched in but other will perform a behavior called “ballooning”. This is where the caterpillar releases a line of silk and the wind carries them, sometimes for miles, to a new plant to infest.
  •      The caterpillars will feed for approximately six weeks in order to finish development. They will pupate inside of their bag and then the males emerge as dark, fuzzy moths. The females don’t grow wings or ever leave the bag; they become sort of a super caterpillar and produce a pheromone to attract males to their bag.
  •     After mating the female will lay her eggs inside of her bag so they can hide over the winter. She will perish but there will be 200-300 of her eggs safe to hatch the next spring. 

You have a few organic options to control bagworms. You can practice mechanical control, where you would go out in the late fall or early spring and cut bags from trees. This will remove any eggs that may hatch in your tree but won’t protect you from new caterpillars blowing in. You can also keep a close eye on your evergreens and when you start to see the small bags pop up spray a product containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to control the young caterpillars. Other options at this time would be products with spinosad or azadirectin.

If you miss your chance to do these early stage controls you can control larger bagworms with synthetic products like Sevin (carbaryl), Ortho Tree & Shrub (or other bifenthrin containing products), or Bayer Tree and Shrub (or other products containing cyfluthrin). 

Adult bagworms in a tree (Photo courtesy of Jim Kalisch, UNL Entomology)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

4 Facts about Chiggers You should knowHow

It’s beautiful outside and we are all hoping to get out there and enjoy the early summer weather! Sometimes though, we bump into problematic pests that can ruin our day. One such pest is the chigger, which is the bane of many a hiker, gardener, or just general outdoor enthusiast. Here are some quick facts to help understand and avoid this biting bother.

Chigger bites on top of foot by V. Jedlicka

1.  Chiggers are just kids
The chigger that bites you isn’t actually the full grown version; they are the larval stage of a predatory mite. This means that despite being arachnids, if you looked at a chigger under a microscope you would find it only has six legs.

2. Chiggers love the great outdoors
You can encounter chiggers in many different types of places, but their preferred habitat is a nice, damp, low lying area. You may encounter them areas with only turf but are more likely to meet them in areas of tall grass with weeds as well. If you are visiting wooded areas or stumble into a bramble patch, don’t be surprised if you find some chiggers too.

 3. No need for that nail polish
Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not take up residence under your skin or feed on blood. When you brush up against a plant they are hanging out on they will latch onto you. After this they insert a long straw (called a stylostoma) into your body. They will then inject enzymes into you that will melt bits of your skin and they slurp up the juices like a milkshake. These enzymes are responsible for the intense itching we have after the bite.

How a chigger bite works

4. Gross! I don’t want that
To prevent bites you should wear full length pants and shirts when you can. If you don’t want to be warm, you can also wear protective products such as DEET to repel chiggers from your body. Finally, when picnicking or watching fireworks, lay a blanket down to sit upon and try to avoid sitting directly on turfgrass. If you find that you have recurring chigger issues on your property, treating your yard or just the infested area with an insecticide containing bifenthrin will help to eliminate their populations.

If you ever want to know any more about chiggers here are some helpful links:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Teenage Bugs are Having Sex in your Trees

If you live in Nebraska or a nearby state, millions of insects will be emerging this May and June, maybe even in your backyard! They are called periodical cicadas and they’re one of nature’s most interesting insects. As nymphs they live in the soil for 17 years feeding on sap from the roots of trees. This makes them the longest living insect in North America. After that 17 year period is up, they emerge from the soil, molt into their final adult form, and take to the trees above them to mate. They emerge in what we call “broods” and and we live in Brood 4's territory. 

Periodical cicada completing its molt into an adult,  photo by Bob Rabaglia.

In order to find one another and mate, cicadas will sing songs. The male produces the loudest portion of the the tune by flexing his tymbals. Tymbals are small membranes between the thorax and abdomen that can be vibrated by a powerful muscle behind them. This flexing produces clicks which are amplified by the cicada's hollow abdomen. The males often gather into groups and create a chorus which can make quite a racket, reaching decibel levels comparable to a jet airplane engine. The females are not silent in this song and create clicking sounds using their wings. This completes the duet and signals acceptance of a mating partner.

Male cicada and his tymbal

ID facts
  •  All periodical cicadas are black, with red eyes, and orange trim on their wings.

  • There are 3 species of periodical cicada and to tell them apart you need to look at their belly. Magicicada cassini will have an all-black abdomen, M. septendecim will have big thick orange stripes, while M. septendecula will have thin orange stripes.
  • You can use their mating calls to ID them as well. Head to to learn more about cicada calls. You can help researchers who want to know more about periodical cicadas by filling out the citizen science forms also found at

Control help

Periodical cicadas are not normally pests but occasionally harm fruit trees or newly transplanted trees with their egg laying activity. The female has a sword-like ovipositior that she uses to slice small slits into young tree branches and then to insert her eggs. This can result in weakened branches that snap and create a characteristic "flagging" damage (see image below). Older, more established trees can handle this, but young ones may be stressed by this flagging damage. If you are worried about one of your trees, your best course of action will be to take some fine, mesh netting and wrap it around the trees branches to keep the females from landing on them. 

Top photo: Cicada flagging damage on young tree (Photo by Dan Potter)
Bottom photo: Using netting to protect tree from cicada egg laying 

This is a unique natural phenomenon to be a part of so check your trees or head out to a local state park to meet some of these amazing insects!   

Friday, April 24, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 12: Native Pollinator Buzz with Dr. Amber Vinchesi

Hey there bug people and welcome to today's show! Join us as we visit with Dr. Amber Vinchesi to learn about native pollinators and how to conserve them! Plus we have our pest profile starring odorous house ants and we learn about two new resources in the fight against invasive beetles. Tune in! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 11:Get Rid of Chicken Pests with Amy Murillo

Hey there bug people and welcome to today's show! Our first few minutes are focused on two Entomology Today news pieces, so check those out. But then, we move into our pest profile/feature interview with chicken entomologist Amy Murillo! She regales us with info on chicken pests, chicken attacks, and her illuminating research! Tune in! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 10: Find your inner bug dork with The Bug Chicks

Hey there bug people and welcome to today's show! We open with a look at that pesky indoor invader, the Indian meal moth. Then we cover some exciting Entomology Today news. Following that we are joined by Jessica Honaker and Kristie Reddick, collectively known as The Bug Chicks! Tune in to hear about their adventures in entomology education, inspiring new scientists, and why outreach is important!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 9: Urban Heat Islands, Scale Insects, and their Sugar Candy Poop with Emily Meineke

Hey there entomophiles and welcome to today's show! Today's episode is chock-full of great stuff for you! In the introduction we have a pest profile featuring silverfish and firebrats as well as our Entomology Today news segment. Then we are joined by Emily Meineke of North Carolina State University to talk about urban heat islands, scale insects, and the future of urban pests! Tune in!

Oak lecaneum scale; Courtesy of Oregon State

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Arthro-Pod Episode 8: Art, Beetles, and Curation with Dr. Ainsley Seago


Hello everyone and welcome to our 8th episode! Today we are going to be talking all beetles all the time! We start with our pest profile covering dermestid beetles and introduce our new section, Entomology News! Then we have a great interview with taxonomist and artist extraordinaire Dr. Ainsley Seago!