16 April 1997
Volume 5: no. 3
Camp time is so close that we can almost reach out and touch it. If you're coming, you'd better get on the ball and get some things in, quick! We will all meet at John Kyle State Park on June 1 and go from there. There are a lot of things falling into place for the camp. We will be having the 1997 Insect Olympics as directed by the MSU Entomology Club. Sarah Pope, Angus Cachot, Wendy Platt and all their crew will be coming to help us crown the top `bugs' of the year. They've really been going all out to get some interesting contests set up. It'll be different this year! The Dunns from Y.E.S. (Young Entomologists Society) will be back with us again. They always have some exotic insects. They also will have some interesting information about `insect ranching.' Dr. John Guyton will also be with us this year and he plans to share some ideas which can be used for Science Fairs. Dr. Collison is bringing some more bees for a visit to camp and there will be some other `buggy characters' like Dr. Jerome Goddard, Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Barb Nead sharing their experiences with you.
The male Cicada may be the loudest insect known. By vibrating the ribbed plates in a pair of amplifying cavities at the base of the abdomen, the mating sound of the cicada may be heard as far as 400 yards away. When you hear them call, you also know that it won't be long until school starts back, too.
The song of the field cricket is temperature dependant. The tone and tempo drop with the temperature. Count the chirps in 13 seconds, add 40 and you will have the approximate temperature in degrees, Fahrenheit. Each cricket species is a little different.
Worldwide we experience only about 9% food loss to pests, largely because of modern pest management. It is estimated that without current pest management technology we would annually lose as much as 50% of current production.
A German Cockroach can survive a month or more without food, but less than 2 weeks without water.
Cockroaches may transmit food poisoning, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid.
The housefly can harbor more than 100 kinds of diseases. They may transmit more than 65 human and animal disease organisms.
Never squash a Yellow jacket wasp near its nest. A dying Yellow jacket wasp releases an alarm pheromone that alerts other wasps on the nest and in less than 15 seconds , yellow jackets within a 15 foot radius will rally to the attack.
Fleas have changed the course of history. More human deaths have been attributed to fleas than all the wars ever fought. As carriers of bubonic plagues, fleas were responsible for killing one third of the population of Europe in the 14th Century.
Crane flies are almost gone. If you are going to replace that one which lost its legs, you'd better hurry! ( Spray the next one you pin with hair spray or a quick drying glue before the legs fall off, it'll help keep the fly `all-together.') I've seen a large number of `love bugs' around this year and had quite a few questions about them, as well. These little Diptereans aren't harmful, except to the paint and radiators on cars. If you drive through a cloud of the bugs, it's time to wash the car! We've also seen a number of butterflies flying around, the yellow and white sulfurs should be plentiful now and some of the larger moths have also begun to appear around lights. Lunar and Cecropia moths should be active around lights already. Giant waterbugs are also moving to lights at night. I've seen them around the sodium vapor lights. If you have tennis courts near you and people play tennis at night, the screens around the courts are ideal places to catch insects.
An ideal, inexpensive charging medium for kill jars is ethyl acetate. This can be purchased as `fingernail polish remover' from most general goods or drug stores. Be sure to read on the label and get the non-oily, non-acetone brands. Never place moths and butterflies in a killjar with beetles or other crawling insects. The crawling insects may damage the wings of the Lepidoptera and the scales of the moths and butterflies will likewise discolor the other insects. Alcohol is a good killing medium for beetles. Simply drop the beetle into a vial of alcohol and as long as you retrieve the specimen in a short time it can be mounted and positioned with no loss of color or any other damage. The specimens remain pliable when killed in this manner as well.
The newer Styrofoam insulation also makes great pinning blocks and spreading boards. This can often be obtained as scrap from new building sites for free. An entire 4X8 sheet is fairly inexpensive and will make enough spreading boards for 20-30 people.
See you at camp! Be sure and bring your camera! I understand that we may even make it on the `tube.' Yep, the TV folks are going to come and film some portion of Entomology Camp!
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