Friday, December 1, 2017

    You know those annoying insects that always seem to be flying and buzzing around you, or even those that just seem to show up when you least want them? Well little did you know, they serve a much larger purpose than we originally thought! 

     I am Emily Cumming, a student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. I am a Forensic Science and Entomology dual major. I am from Saint Edward, a small town in Nebraska, where agriculture is all around me. I grew up on a farm just outside of town with my five other siblings. My dad would have my siblings and myself help with different chores on the farm, sometimes with livestock and other times out in the field with crops. I always enjoyed working with the livestock side of the chores, but being the out-of-the-box sibling that I was, I wanted to connect with livestock in agriculture in a different way. Little did I know, it would be both the livestock and crop related.

     As I grew up, I would attend the Nebraska State Fair with my family, looking at all of the farm equipment and different 4-H projects that were made. We always made sure to stop by the Nebraska Beekeeper’s Association booth in the Open Class building. I seemed to always go to the observation hives they had set up. Through my interest in the honeybees, I was able to apply for, and received, a scholarship through the Nebraska Beekeeper’s Association to start a hive of my own. I really enjoyed learning about the importance and role that honeybees play in agriculture and the world in general. Having this exposure to insects while I was still young, led me to discover my passion for insects. 

    When I graduated from high school, I had been a beekeeper for almost five years. Coming to the University, I was unsure of where I wanted to take my career. I ultimately decided on forensic science, but found that it was challenging, yet it did not hold my interest as I had hoped it would. I began to look at my different options. I discovered that I could pursue my passion for insects by taking up the entomology major. Then I found out that I could dual major and keep the classes I had already taken and build on them by adding in the entomology courses. I brought the things I enjoyed from both majors together and now I can learn about them both! I am in love with what I am learning and I can’t wait to share the knowledge with others!

    I am hoping to continue my education after I receive my bachelor’s and work towards my master’s in Entomology. From there I hope to start my career in the military as an entomologist. In the event that the entomologist position is unavailable, I hope to use my forensic science with the entomology by working in a lab. This would be to collect specimens from a crime scene or to analyze any evidence collected to help aid the investigation. I also plan to maintain my small entrepreneurial business of selling honey and honeybee products as well as helping members in my community with pollination by providing a hive for their orchards and gardens. Regardless of which path my career takes; I plan to keep my business going.  I am open to many options for my career, whether that is agriculturally related or not. I hope that no matter what I do, I can share my passion for insects with those around me.

    Don’t be afraid of an insect, because more often than not, the insect more afraid of you than you are of them. Learn a little bit about the role of those annoying insects and see just what they are doing to impact you.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hello All,

I am Kaitlin Stocking, and I am a senior Pre-med Biological Sciences major from Livermore, California.  I will be attending physician assistant school upon graduation next may.  I was interested in the course of Insect Ecology not only because it was a highly recommended class by other people who I knew took it, but I have a profound appreciation for the impact that insects actually have on our world.  I have always had sort of a passion for animals in general, stemming from having a passion for exploring the outdoors.  It is because of this Insect Ecology course that not only have I gained a further interest into learning about insects and how they interact with their surrounding environments, but from this class I have learned how important each individual insect is to our ecosystems.  In all honesty, there are still some insects that creep me out.  However, the benefits that they provide to all aspects of the world, outweigh any bad aspects that may be associated with them.  There is often a stigma associated with the Insect population on earth, being that they are just creepy organisms.  However, it is through many years of studies and research, that this is shown simply to not be true. I am truly excited to keep on learning about Insects, and hopefully I get to take another class that focuses on them in the near future.
- Kaitlin Stocking

Becoming A Beekeeper

Hi everyone! My name is Morgan and I am a senior Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication major with a focus on leadership and a minor in Insect Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I grew up in a small town about an hour away from Lincoln, NE. I never thought I would have an interest in agriculture until I chose, on a whim, to go to an FFA meeting my freshman year of high school.
I have lived in my small town my entire life and I really didn’t have much background in the agricultural industry. I first became involved in leadership event and public speaking events in FFA. My first speech I gave was on honeybees and colony collapse disorder. This speech sparked an interest in bees for me. By my sophomore year of high school, I had purchased two hives and began my own backyard beekeeping business. I was fascinated with the movement of the bees, their resilience, and their social organization. My beekeeping business became a family business and something we were all excited about! We quickly became the local beekeepers in my small town and whenever someone had a question about bees or had bees in a tree in their backyard, or wanted to buy some local honey, they came to my family.
I brought this passion for insects with me to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and I was excited to declare a minor in Insect Sciences. I have had the chance to not only expand my understanding of a variety of insects but also a growth in my appreciation of insects that aren’t black and yellow with honey producing powers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hi Everyone! My name is Bridget, and I am a Biology major at UNL and will be attending pharmacy school next fall. I grew up on a farm in central Nebraska, so I have always been surrounded by agriculture. I have always had a passion for animals and the outdoors. As a kid, I would roam around our pastures with my siblings and search for bugs such as caterpillars, lightning bugs, or ladybugs. The Entomology class I am currently in has re-sparked my interest in bugs, especially how they interact with the environment. I really enjoy learning how their relationships with plants and other organisms affect the world as a whole. I think a lot of people overlook the major role that insects play in the ecosystem, so it is easy to think of them as annoyances. However, after learning so much more about them, I have come to appreciate their contribution to to the Earth. I am excited to keep learning more about them.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hello! My name is Andrea and I'm an Applied Science major at UNL. I first decided to take the course after I bought an insect ID book. I began taking that, along with my plant, mammal, and bird ID books when I went camping or hiking. I've always kind of gotten the hibbie jibbies with some creepy crawlers, so I thought Insect Ecology course offered at UNL would help me become more familiar and comfortable with insects. In fact, I'm also currently enrolled in Insect Biology and have the opportunity to keep a couple of insects as 'pets.'

Although spiders still sometimes make me jump, I've grown a different kind of appreciation for what insects do for us and Earth. I hope to one day be able to work in a national park or doing research toward environmental awareness.

-Andrea Lopez

Friday, October 20, 2017

Praying mantis Winter by Sarah Zuehlke

Praying Mantis winter

By Sarah Zuehlke

It is that time of the year again when it gets quite cold at night and cooler in the day and the trees start to change to beautiful fall colors of orange, red and yellow. The insects know it is getting cold as well and are now preparing for the winter. Some insects sleep through the winter while others prepare their eggs to survive the winter. Praying mantises have quite an interesting way of preparing their young for the winter. A plump female praying mantis is full of eggs and when the time is right she will lay her egg case which is called an ootheca. Praying mantises protect their eggs in this foamy tan colored ootheca which is like a thick blanket around the little precious eggs. Hundreds of little baby mantises can be inside just one ootheca, and the little ones will be dormant throughout the winter, they are in diapause, and will wake up in the spring when the temperatures get warmer. Watching a female mantis tenderly create her egg case is quite amazing. She uses the end of her abdomen and cerci to create the egg case and watching how much effort and detail she puts into it is fascinating. Chinese mantises create large inch long egg cases that are roundish but Carolina mantises create long thin egg cases. Praying mantises like to lay their egg cases in bramble and grasses near where they are living. They also like to lay egg cases in your garden. A female mantis will angle the egg case just right as she is laying it so the little nymphs can hatch correctly. So if you were ever wondering how praying mantises survive the winter, it is through their offspring in well protected egg cases.  Pictured here is Amber the female Chinese mantis laying her egg case a few days ago. Now her little ones are all ready for the winter. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hello, my name is Kassidy Kruger! I am currently majoring in Pre-Physician Assistant Biology and will be pursuing my master’s degree after graduating in the spring. My interest in entomology stems from being an outdoorsy kid who loved digging in the dirt. I had a peculiar (and messy) habit of bringing inside uncovered creatures from my backyard in attempt to add to my “biosphere” contained in a gallon aquarium. It wasn’t until after my aquarium had burst from the seams that I was forced to take a more virtual and book orientated path to learning about bugs.

I find that, more times than not, people place an unneeded stigma on insects by calling them “pests”, destroying any educational or moral potential it had once embodied. By learning the importance of bugs within our environment’s complex network from the get-go, I feel that I am one step ahead. I am eager to continue learning about insects and can’t wait to see the full scope of what this class has to offer.