- Author: 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.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Oh, sure, there are lots of bug girls and bug boys out there--bug women, bug men and real insects, too--but there's only one Bug Girl.
She's the one who writes that witty/informative/tell-it-like-it-is-not-what-you-want-it-to-be bug blog called...drum roll...Bug Girl.
Bug Girl, aka Bug C. Membracid, spoke at a social media seminar at the 59th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America, held Nov. 13-16 in Reno.
Before her talk, folks were sporting "I Am Bug Girl" stickers on their name tags. That added to the mystery of "Who is Bug Girl?" That one? This one? The one over there? Will the real Bug Girl please stand up?
See, she writes anonymously. We don't know who she is--she keeps her identity a secret--but we do know she has a doctorate in entomology from North Carolina State University and she works in a provost's office "in a Connecticut university."
We also know she wears a mop of hair the color of a blue morpho butterfly and some cool (and mostly erect) blue antennae--at least she did at the ESA meeting. We also know she has a fan base like you wouldn't believe. Fellow bug lovers were coming out of the woodwork like termites to hear her speak, hug her, and to be photographed with her.
Move over, Angelina Jolie. Take a seat, Taylor Swift. Scoot, Jennifer Aniston. We have a scientist in our midst!
In her talk, "Adventures of Bug Girl or Everything You Wanted to Know About Entomological Social Media But Were Afraid to Ask," she told how you, too, can become "an online entomology goddess." She began blogging as Bug Girl in 2004, as "a way to become a better writer."
Bug Girl writes the way she talks. No academic jargon, nothing you have to read three times to understand. "it's about talking to people; it's about conversation, not lecturing," she said.
However, Bug Girl warned "people can be very cruel to you." Someone even set up a website countering her views, she said.
She also mentioned her bug-blogging buddies, including Dragonfly Woman, Alex Wild (he received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis) and Carl Zimmer, among others. "I don't see us as competitors, but as collaborators," she said. "It's not about who has the most followers."
"What I do isn't so much as public outreach; it's public engagement. It's having a conversation with our readers."
Bug Girl said she's proud of what she called "the little victories," like convincing Nature journal to spell "bed bug" as two words, instead of one. She bashes bad science like some folks bash cockroaches.
Bug Girl hammered home several pieces of advice:
1. Find your niche or what she called your "blue water" or where few are--and not "red water," because that's where the sharks are.
2. Find your voice and make it distinct. Don't look for validation or positive validation.
3. Develop a thick skin.
4. Be prepared to spend a lot more time and energy than you expect.
5. Don't expect a profit.
For all bloggers and would-be bloggers, Bug Girl recommended folks read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR.
For the full account of what Bug Girl said at the ESA meeting and what bugs her, link here.