Well, no, they don't.
Some folks scream, smash them, or sprint away from them.
Other folks--including yours truly--sprint toward them, not unlike firefighters racing into a burning building while everyone else is dashing out.
So it's gratifying to see that Feedspot.com has just published a list of the top 25 entomology blogs worldwide. All in one place. Bug lovers, unite!
Founder Anuj Agarwal says the blogs are ranked based on the following criteria:
- Google reputation and Google search ranking
- Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
- Quality and consistency of posts.
- Feedspot's editorial team and expert review
"The best entomology blogs," Agarwal told us, "are from thousands of entomology blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We've carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information."
Feedspot, based in the United States, is a "News and blog reader used by over one million users," Agarwal related. "Globally. it's a place where users can read all their favorite websites in one place." The Feedspot editorial team "extensively searched on Google and social media websites to find the best entomology blogs and ranked them," based on several factors such as:
- Blog content quality
- Post consistency
- Age of the blog
- Average number of shares on social sites for your blog posts
- Traffic of your blog and more.
This blog, Bug Squad, which I've written for 10 years every night, Monday through Friday on the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) website, landed on the list as No. 12. Wasn't expecting that! (As an aside, I've never missed a night of posting, even on holidays and vacations.)
Which blog is No. 1? Entomology Today, published by the 7000-member Entomological Society of America.
Note that Feedspot Entomology currently lists the top 24 entomology blogs instead of the top 25, which is why this (list) below is missing one.
The list, along with the links:
- Entomology Today The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines
- What's That Bug? - Are we experts yet? In this blog you can send entries for bug identification. Get information about various kinds of bug around the world and more in this blog
- Catalogue of Organisms An entomologist and taxonomist, currently based in Perth, Western Australia
- Bug of the Week Written by "The Bug Guy," Michael J. Raupp, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland
- Bug Eric Get all information about insects, spiders, and other arthropods, focusing on North America north of Mexico. This is by Eric Eaton, principal author of Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America.
- Reddit | Entomology Find the latest news and information about entomology from Reddit.
- Reddit | Bug identification! Find information about all your bug identification needs, whether that be insects, spiders, crustaceans, or whatnot!
- The Jentsch Lab Find information about insect biology, ecology, and management in hudson valley agricultural commodities in this blog. The Jentsch is Peter Jentsch, senior Extension associate
- What's Crawling in the Lab? | Insect Diagnostic Lab | Department of Entomology Patrick (PJ) Liesch, the director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab, gives information about the ecology of bees and other pollinators, and the mechanisms by which they provide the invaluable service of pollination.
- Angler's Entomology Podcast A podcast about re-discovering fly fishing entomology. "We will review the major groups of aquatic insects - both relevant facts for fly fshing, but also interesting twists that make these critters fascinating."
- Blogs from the Natural History Museum | Entomology Blogs from the Natural History Museum | Entomology
- Bug Squad | Agriculture and Natural Resources Blogs This is a blog that appears on the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources website. It's about the wonderful world of insects and the people who study them. (Text and photos by Kathy Keatley Garvey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis)
- Ask an Entomologist In this blog, "you can ask any questions related to entomology or bugs or insects, together we tackle your hardest questions about insects, their biology, ecology, physiology, or whatever else your beautiful and curious mind wants to know."
- Pensoft blog | Entomology Find information about entomology from this blog
- Buglife Buglife is billed as "the only organization in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates everything from bees to beetles, and spiders to snails."
- MYRMECOS – Little Things Matter A personal blog by entomologist and photographer Alex Wild (Alex Wild is the curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin, and holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Davis, where he studied with Phil Ward)
- Wild About Ants Roberta Gibson is an entomologist and writer/blogger. She holds a master's degree in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied carpenter ants.
Beetles In The Bush Get all information about experiences and reflections of a Missouri entomologist
- Entomological Society of Canada The Entomological Society of Canada promotes research and disseminates knowledge about insects. Its flagship journal is The Canadian Entomologist (TCE).
- The Academy of Natural Sciences | Entomology Find information about entomology or insects from this blog.
- MObugs Get updates about Missouri entomology or insects and more by Shelly Cox.
FOCUS on Entomology Get all news about agricultural entomology from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock.
- Insects Unlocked Insects Unlocked (directed by Alex Wild) is a public domain project from The University of Texas at Austin's Insect Collection. Background: "In 2015, our team of student and community volunteers crowd-funded a campaign to create thousands of open, copyright-free images. From more than 200 small contributions, we built an insect photography field kit and photo studio. This website holds discussions of the small animals we encounter, updates from the project, and other entomological miscellanea."
- Mastering Entomology | Big Ideas About Little Things This site is run by the Entomology and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) students at Harper Adams University. "Get ideas about bugs or insects and more from this blog."
- (Currently not listed)
Take the entries in Today's Youth Building at the 143rd annual Dixon May Fair, which opened Thursday, May 10 and continues through Sunday, May 13.
Some of the exhibitors focused on honey bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and bumble bees--and some ventured out of the insect arena and into spider territory.
- Bianca Currey, 8, of Dixon, wowed the judges with a dragonfly drawing, a blue-ribbon winner. She does crafts projects with the Dixon Grange.
- Beekeeper Ryan Anenson, 16, of the Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, won a blue ribbon for his close-up photograph of a honey bee.
- Jake Vinum, 15, of Vacaville, scored a blue ribbon for his wall hanging, titled "Horseshoe Spider," cleverly crafted with a horseshoe and "spider legs."
- Khole Cahoon, 13, of Vacaville tempted the judges' sweet tooth with a chocolate ganache cupcakes, decorated with bees. The prize: a blue ribbon.
- Riley Mark, 13, of Fairfield, created a colorful butterfly drawing, garnering a red ribbon.
And then there were all the bumble bee pillows entered by Solano County 4-H'ers. The colors and creativity came through.
Beekeeper Francis Agbayani, 12, of the Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, went one step farther by displaying his 4-H project, "Don't Bee Making Mistakes," a blue-ribbon winner. He touched on:
- Starting with only one hive
- Judging the health of a colony based on "bee traffic"
- Opening the hive too often
- Failing to identify a hive without a queen
- Harvesting honey too early
- Harvesting too much honey
Building superintendent Stephanie Hill of Yuba City and assistant building superintendent Pat Connelly of Vacaville expressed delight at all the talent.
Speaking of insects, if you want to see insect specimens and live insects at the Dixon May Fair, the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis will be staffing a table in the Floriculture Building on Friday, May 11 from 2 to 8 p.m., (entomologist Jeff Smith) and on Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Bohart associate Brennen Dyer, undergraduae student). Fairgoers can not only view the insect specimens but handle and photograph the permanent residents of the live "petting zoo," which includes such insects as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks, but also tarantulas (spiders).
The four-day Dixon May Fair, themed "Home Grown Fun," opened Thursday, May 10 at 4 p.m. and concludes at 10 p.m. on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13. Also known as the 36th District Agricultural Association Fair, it's located at 655 S. First St.. Hours are from 4 to 10 p.m. on Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
The fair is the oldest district fair and fairgrounds in California, according to chief administrative officer Patricia Conklin. It is linked closely with the communities of Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Elmira, Woodland and Davis.
I did not save a spider yesterday.
Did not save one today, either.
Well, if I had seen one....
ESA usually focuses on insects (spiders are not insects) but ESA is all inclusive in this welcoming world of arthropod diversity.
Their online text is worth repeating:
"March 14 is Save A Spider Day in the U.S. and while Charlotte and Peter Parker have been fighting the good fight to redeem the spider's reputation, arachnophobia is still running rampant, especially in the United States. One study conducted during a freshman entomology class at Colorado State University found that "the most commonly mentioned specific factor in spider fear was bites and the perceived danger of spiders with figures indicat[ing] that spider fear levels of college students in Colorado are substantially higher than those reported from European general populations."But are spiders the nightmare they've always been portrayed to be? Do they bite? Do they carry diseases? Are brown recluse spiders everywhere just waiting to strike?
"First of all, a lot of those spider bites you've heard about weren't actually spider bites. A study in the Journal of Medical Entomology has shown that there are several medical conditions that can be commonly misdiagnosed as spider bites including "bacterial, viral, and fungal infections; vasculitis; dermatological conditions; bites and stings from other arthropods; and miscellaneous causes such as allergies or drug reactions, chemical burns, reactions to poisonous plants, or diabetic ulcers." The study also expanded on the idea that Hobo Spiders are disease-transferring which it turns out, they are not. Other common house spiders have also had their name cleared when it comes to spreading MRSA."
The ESA then turned to the brown recluse spiders, pointing out the misidentification and the false information about bites: "Take this study where an infestation of 2,055 brown recluse spiders was collected in a Kansas home that a family had been living in for many years, all without ever receiving a spider bite."
"So that spider in your cupboard?" ESA asks. "Probably not a brown recluse. It's probably not carrying a disease. And it may have just killed a tick for you. So try saving a spider today, it's worth it."
The last time I saw a spider was on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. It was a jumping spider perched on an almond tree on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis. It had crossed paths with a winter ant (Prenolepis imparis). Neither wanted to be anyone's Valentine. Neither needed saving.
But I distinctly remember the other spiders I have seen and photographed in our pollinator garden. They didn't need saving, either.
Well, perhaps the prey needed saving...but everybody has to eat!
If you're addicted to insects or insect photography, you'll want to see the international award-winning images on the Insect Salon website. Each year the Peoria (Ill.) Camera Club hosts the contest in conjunction with the Entomological Society of America (ESA).
The subjects are primarily insects but can also include spiders and related arthropods, such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes and millipedes. For your work to be accepted in the Insect Salon showcase, it must score at least 12 points. Those who score 15 are selected medalists.
The ESA, a professional insect-science organization of some 7000 members, showcases these images at its annual conferences. This year's conference, set Nov. 5-8 in Denver, Colo., is appropriately themed "Ignite. Inspire. Innovate."
The winning photographers this year represent 16 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malayasia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Some images are from ESA members, and some are from alumni of the BugShot Macro Photography Workshops.
Malaysia-based photographers anchored the winners' circle:
- The best-of-show medal went to Tommy Teh of Malaysia for "Hunger For Food 3"
- The medal for most unusual: Andrews Ruggen of Argentina for "Convivencia"
- The medal for best storytelling: Alek Low of Malaysia for "Craving For Food"
- The medal for best image from a non-ESA member: Kawawa Wong Yik Siang of Malaysia for "Hungry Jumping Spider"
- The medal for best image from an ESA member: Wei Fu of Ontario, Canada for "Bite Tightly"
- The medal for best image from a Peoria Club Camera member: John Weidman of Peoria, Ill. for "Argiope Securing Grasshopper"
You can view them all by accessing the Insect Salon website and then clicking on the image titles. The site includes the name of the photographer, city/country of residence, and the title of the image.
Due to copyright concerns, I'm not posting the winning images, but posting two of mine that were accepted for the 2017 Insect Salon showcase:
- "Faster than a Speeding Bullet" shows a long-horned bee (Melissodes agilis) in flight, speeding over a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). This image received one of the 19 honorable mentions. (Image taken with a Nikon D500 camera with a 70-180mm lens. Settings: ISO 2500, f-stop 16, and shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second)
- "Under Attack!" shows a long-horned bee (Melissodes agilis) targeting a Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta), also on Tithonia. (Image taken with a Nikon D500 with a 70-180mm lens. Settings: ISO 2000, f-stop 7, and shutter speed of 1/3200 of a second.)
These might inspire you to enter the 2018 Insect Salon competition.
It's a Macro World out there!
That sign, “I am NOT afraid of spiders,” greeted Louisa Lo, executive administrative assistant for Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, when she arrived to work a week ago at her office on the "garden level" of Briggs Hall.
Her recently retired colleague and good friend, Shirley Gee, principal investigator, lecturer, mentor and the longtime manager of the Hammock research lab, saw the sign in a local store and purchased it for her.
Halloween is gone, but the sign isn't, and the spiders may not be.
And, yes, despite the sign, she says she's still a “little” afraid of spiders. A touch of arachnophobia.
And why does she not like spiders? “Spiders are creepy!” she said, smiling. “Actually it's not only spiders I don't like, but almost all kind of bugs, especially those with multiple legs! THEY CRAWL ALL OVER THE PLACE! And ironically, I am working in the Entomology Department!”
She works for Bruce Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Highly recognized by his peers for his research, inventions, teaching and mentoring, Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. His many programs keep her busy.
Louisa is known as a treasure in the office--multi-skilled, personable and always helpful. "Louisa never failed to ask if she could help me," Gee recalled. "I'm going to miss her as a colleague, but mostly as a friend!"
Said Hammock: "Louisa brightened the office since the day she arrived. She somehow accomplishes the hard work of keeping the lab running under an appearance of always being ready to help. She makes new people feel welcome and lets alumni know they are missed. She even reminds me what day it is and when it is time to go home."
Lo considers this her dream job. “I love meeting and working with people with different backgrounds!” The Hammock lab draws scientists from all over the world. The 29-member international Hammock lab currently includes 1 undergraduate student, 1 graduate student, 7 postdoctorates, 7 research scientists, 8 visiting scholars and 3 staff. They represent 13 countries, including the United States, Turkey, Germany, China, France, India, Japan, Ukraine, Korea, Hong Kong, Canada, Brazil and Sweden.
Lo, who joined the Hammock lab on Aug. 17, 2011, will soon be moving to Michigan where her husband, Kin Sing Stephen Lee, a postdoc in the Hammock lab, has accepted a junior faculty position in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Michigan State University.
Is Lee afraid of spiders? "He better not be afraid of spiders," she said. "He is the one relocating them for me if any are in our house!"
Lo's last day is Dec. 16 at UC Davis. She already has a position awaiting her. “It will be a very similar position as what I am doing right now except it is in a department setting (Department of Family Medicine at Michigan State University) rather than working for a single unit,” Lo said. “I will be responsible of managing accounts, helping with grant proposals and providing administrative support to the department. “
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Louisa came to the United States in 2002 to attend college. She received a degree in advertising “so my first job was a copywriter in an advertising firm in Hong Kong. Then I moved back to United States when my husband was finishing up grad school.”
Then the couple moved to Davis in 2010. Louisa worked as a warehouse associate and an office manager in a clinic before accepting her current position with the Hammock lab.
She and her husband are enjoying life with their toddler son, Skyler, who is just learning to walk, run and ride a tricycle.
Odds are Skyler won't be wearing a Spiderman outfit any time soon.