14 September 1994
Volume 2: no. 9
I think there have been more insects flying and crawling around in the last few days than I have seen in a long time. If you have procrastinated all summer about collecting insects, do so no longer. Night hunts around lights are especially good. Moths, beetles, all sorts of grasshoppers, and other interesting critters are readily available. You will even see an occasional Giant Waterbug or other `scarce' bug. Dragonflies are more numerous and easier to catch these days too. We mentioned a `Preying Mantis' hunt in the spring, but it did not materialize, though I have seen some beautiful Mantids in the last few days. They are out there on the flowers and green bushes if you will only look. They make neat pets when held in a screened cage. Feed them crickets or moths or almost any other insect. The females will reward you with a nice large egg case which can be held over until next spring to see all the `baby mantises' arrive.
We have had a number of outstanding workshops during the late summer and beginning of school. These are really enjoyable to me and I appreciate getting to work with people interested in entomology. Many of the young people with whom we have worked will be able to show their insect collections in the various fairs and show days that we have in the fall. Please remember to follow the pinning and label instructions as closely as possible. Insect pins are a must for any good insect collection. They are available through most extension offices or at University Book Stores. You can order them direct from the Y.E.S. - Young Entomologist's Society or IANNI Butterfly Supply (addresses below). Many of the biology/science teachers have assigned insect collections to their students. Early fall is the best time to collect and is an ideal time for such an assignment. Identification is always a sticky problem for young people (and their parents). Remember that it is almost impossible for a novice to identify insects to genus and species. 4-H rules require identification to Order and common name.
There are a number of useful references which can be used to help with insect identification:
*** THE PETERSON FIELD GUIDE SERIES: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE INSECTS OF NORTH AMERICA...by Donald J. Borror and R.E. White
** THE AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN INSECTS AND SPIDERS
* THE AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BUTTERFLIES
* A GOLDEN GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
I suggest that you use the Peterson series book . In paperback it is usually available at most good book stores for about $10.00. The plates in this book are excellent and easy to use. The Audubon books are a little more expensive (less than $20.00) and have beautiful plates which are very helpful. The Golden Guide is a small book , less than $5.00, which is surprisingly good. Encyclopedias and other reference sets are also helpful at times.
Full directions for making insect collections and other projects are available free to any who want them from any extension office. If your county office does not have the information, write to me and I will mail you a packet.
Attention Rock Eagle Delegates:
This is a reminder to those of you who will be coming to the Southern Volunteer Leaders Forum. Please bring insects to go in the Rock Eagle Insect Collection. You can also bring extra specimens to trade if you would like, especially if you have some `neat' ones. The Mississippi group will supply the box which will hold the collection, but we would like to have representative insects from all the participating states. You might get some 4-Hers to donate insects or catch them yourself. Butterflies and moths should be pinned and spread correctly. Beetles, bees and most other insects, except Lepidoptera, may be preserved in alcohol (preferably ethanol) and kept for pinning at the workshop. In any case, we will want to know correct date, locality and collector information for each insect. We have visited with Arch Smith about this project and he indicated that he thought that it might be very helpful for the campers during the annual camping sessions. I realize that this is repeating the August announcement, but I hope that it will serve as a reminder to each of you. If you aren't coming to Rock Eagle (shame) and want to participate, contact someone who is coming and send your insects by them.
Addresses for ordering Insect pins and other supplies:
IANNI Butterfly Enterprises Young Entomologists' Society
P. O. Box 81171
Cleveland, Ohio 44181
(216) 888-2310 or 9762
1915 Peggy Pl.
Lansing, MI 48910
IANNI Butterfly Enterprises
Young Entomologists' Society
P.S. Be sure and help us get the word out to the Rock Eagle Delegates!
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837