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Social Insects

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: social insects.

Bioluminescence

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: bioluminescence.

Medical Insects

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: medical insects.

Termites

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: termites.

Cockroaches

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: cockroaches.

Bed Bugs

Our resident entomology expert Heather Campbell brings us another Insect Minute. This week’s topic: bed bugs.

Ticks

This may be the “Insect Minute,” but a tick is no insect! Ticks are a part of the subclass Acari making them close relatives of mites and distantly related to spiders. Ticks have four life stages, beginning as an egg that hatches into a six-legged larva. The six-legged larva immediately sets out to look for an appropriate host to find a blood meal. Ticks, both male and female, need blood to continue to the next stage of development. Once the larva has fed it will molt into an eight-legged nymph which, after feeding, will molt into a reproductive adult.

Cicadas

If there is an insect that represents the feeling of summer, I would argue it is the Cicada. At an afternoon baseball game or cook out, a chorus of male cicadas are there providing a soundtrack, doing their most animated singing at the warmest point of the day. This association between summer and cicadas is not unique to North Carolina or North America for that matter.

The Biggest Insect

When you are in a specialized career, like entomology for example, you are bound to get many questions. Some of the common questions we get are “What is the most dangerous insect?” “Which has the worst sting?” or “Who would win in a fight between place two large insects that would never cross paths here?” We’ll save these questions for future Insect Minutes. The question that we seek to answer this week is, “What is the biggest insect?”

The Arctic Woolly Bear Moth

As a kid in North Carolina, many of us grew up with the notion that banded woolly bear caterpillars could be used to predict the severity and length of the coming winter. If the band around the center of the caterpillar’s body was wide, we knew we were in for a winter full of snow days and sledding! I am sorry to report that this is, indeed, a wives’ tale. There can be a lot of color variation within one clutch of banded woolly bear caterpillar eggs and the band width typically grows with age. Disappointed? Me too.

The Wonderful World of Bees!

Furry, colorful and industrious bees radiate a charisma that people are naturally drawn to. After all, they produce the celebrated product, honey, and pollinate crops and gardens. Like most people, I knew there were three kinds of bees: the honey bee, the bumblebee and the carpenter bee. What I did not realize until I started studying bees, is that there are over 20,000 species of bees world wide and that these represent only a small portion of the bee diversity out there. There are over 3,500 species in the United States!

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