14 November 1994
Volume 2: no. 11
With the arrival of the cool season, entomology types are supposed to slow down, but that hasn't been the case this year. I've been to Rock Eagle, out of the country twice, and to three meetings since the last opportunity to visit with you. Rock Eagle was a blast in 1994. This is about the 6th time I have attended and they get better each year. Our Entomology Workshop was well received. A number of you contributed to the `insect collection' for Rock Eagle. We are working it up now and will deliver it to the camp before the camping season begins. Thanks for your assistance. We are considering promoting an insect trade fair during the Forum for those interested in obtaining insects from different parts of the country. We'll work up some `ground rules' and see how things go. We have set June 4-8, 1995 as the dates for our 2nd Annual Entomology Camp. The camp will be held at the Tombigbee State Park, near Tupelo, MS, so put these dates on your calendar and plan now to attend!!
Fall Activities: Fall and winter are ideal times for refurbishing equipment and supplies. New pinning blocks, spreading boards, and holding boxes are always welcome. Now is also the time to check insect collections, listing those specimens which need to be replaced and insuring that collections are safened for the winter. Moth balls or crystals should be replenished in each storage and collection box about once every 6 months, more often if the box is opened quite often. Dermestids can destroy a collection in a matter of months if it isn't protected. There may still be some insects about on warm days. Most Hymenoptera (wasps/bees etc.), Coleoptera (beetles), and many Hemiptera (bugs) overwinter as adults. Some of these same insect groups are active during warm days year round. Most of the Lepidoptera hibernate as pupa, though we have captured moths and butterflies during every month in mild winters. Some insects hibernate in the egg stage, i.e. aphids, preying mantis. As a general rule, if one can find green plants, then insects can also be found associated with them. Animal parasites (lice, fleas etc.) are often easily collected during cool weather. Each fall we get reports of hundreds of pale orange lady beetles congregating on houses, trying, seemingly, to get inside for a visit. In the last few weeks there have been reports that the lady beetles are back. These beetles are beneficial and cause no harm, other than being a nuisance when they congregate in high numbers. If they show up at your door and you aren't inclined to let them in, just sweep them up and dump them back outside. They are looking for a place to hibernate. They like leaf litter, underneath logs or boards, or other protected sites. Perhaps there is an enterprising young person who could devise a hibernation home for these introduced friends from Asia. If preserved, they can be very helpful next spring. A study of the hibernation habits of insects can often direct a collector to ideal locations for `off season' collecting. Many of the books on insects/nature are available in bookstores and make ideal `gifts' for the budding naturalists in our midst. This is also the time for planning and beginning a butterfly/moth garden. Many of the wildflowers and other host plants for insects need to be planted in the fall so that the plants will germinate and emerge at the correct time. In planning, be sure to include various plants to provide flowers during the entire growing season, including both food plants for the adults as well as hosts for the larva. Former issues of the Gloworm list many `butterfly plants'. In this issue we will list a few `moth' plants.
Information in this table was gleaned from: TN CES PUB #1022 - Entomology, Observing Collecting and Rearing Insects Unit 6, 1982.
Many of these moths are commonly collected in our area each year. A good time to look for them might be on or around the larval host plants. Many of them overwinter as pupae, so might be easily found near some of these plants November through March. Most of the host plants for the moth species are trees and shrubs, so long range planning should be used if moths are your thing.
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837