Your Extension Experts
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Volume 5: no.1
11 March 1997
March has arrived as meekly as a lamb, temperature wise anyway. The rains and flooding are really coming earlier this year than I can remember. This is more like late April and early May it seems to me, so perhaps we will really have an earlier than usual spring for 1997. That means that we can all break out the `bug chasing equipment' and get about doing some early collecting this year. There are a number of species which we can look for now which may not be available later on. Some of the cool weather moths are flying around lights now. During spring vacation would be a good time to set up lights and see what is beginning to fly. This is the first Gloworm of 1997 so we have some catching up to do.
The top 5 essays for Mississippi this year were -
1. Caleb Layton
- Oktibbeha County `Crisis in the hive'
2. Virginia Skelton - Tate County `Obituary'
3. Lane Dossett - Forrest County `Bees robbed of hoard honey'
4. Emily K. Taylor - Pontotoc County `New beehive in neighborhood boosts economy and environment'
5. Sarah Speights - Pontotoc County `Worker bees: overworked and under-appreciated'
These 4-Hers wrote great essays. In future, Gloworms, I plan to reproduce exerpts from some of their material. The Mississippi Beekeepers Association thinks this is a good idea, too, and they have put their money where their mouth is. The Association is awarding a $100.00 check for the first place award and a $75.00 check for the second place award and a $50.00 check for the third place award. In addition, the first place essay went on to national competition, where there is also a cash award for winning. We'll announce the title of the 1998 contest this summer and expect to see some new entries. This is a contest that is available to 4-Hers across the US, every state has a one. We had 16 entries in our state contest this year. Congratulations to all of you who wrote an essay, you are winners in my book!
We are busy putting the plans together for the 1997 edition of the ENTOMOLOGY CAMP. The camp will be held at John W. Kyle State Park near Sardis, MS on June 1-5. Individuals, aged 10 and above (adults are included), are invited to come camp with us and learn about the world of insects which surround us. We are planning some new an innovative activities this year. The MSU Entomology Club has tentatively agreed to help with an `insect Olympics' whatever that is, and the Dunns are coming back down from Michigan to do a short course on `insect ranching.' We'll also have some new faces doing other things, but Dr. Goddard, Dr. Brown and Dr. Collison have also agreed to come back and do their thing as well. PLEASE register early!
A number of people have asked about sources of insect information on the INTERNET. I use bugnet out of the University of Washington. To subscribe address : firstname.lastname@example.org and type subscribe bugnet in the body of the message. If you are interested in butterflies, especially Monarchs then you might try Monarch@falcon.cc.ukans.edu. Send a message to Kari asking for information on subscribing. A number of Entomology Departments have web pages which feature pictures of insects which are easily downloaded. The world of computers is making `insect picture collecting' easy.
Doug Elliott has written a little book called `Crawdads, Doodlebugs and Creasy Greens.' In his book, he recounts the story of the Doodlebug as sung by the Georgia Yellowhammers in 1928. The Doodlebug (antlion in some places) is the larval stage which lives at the bottom of a funnel shaped pit trap in sandy areas. We usually find them under conventional type houses (the kind grandma lived in) or tractor sheds where rain can't get to them. The pit trap is designed to catch ants or other insects which stumble into the pit. When an ant walks into the pit the antlion creates a miniature landslide causing the ant to slide down into its waiting jaws, providing a meal. The song insists that the doodlebug can be called out of its hole by singing to it. By putting your mouth close to the top of the funnel and singing "hey doodle, doodle, hop up bug," several times the bugs will often move. They can also be enticed to move by feeding them an ant. The larvae will spin a silk cocoon in the sand and pupate, later to emerge as an adult - Family Myrmeleontidae - Order NEUROPTERA.
Only female mosquitoes bite. The males feed on nectar of flowering plants. Females will feed on nectar as well, but must have a blood meal to be able to lay eggs.
Only immature `chiggers' bite humans. The adult `redbug' mites are predominantly insect egg predators.
MICHAEL R. WILLIAMS
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837