Category: text post

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant…

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Regular

lamebert:

caterpillars have more muscles than humans but i’d like to see one try to fight me irl and see what happens

I have been late for work because I had a giant caterpillar on me and I couldn’t get it off. No, really, if you have a caterpillar on you, and it doesn’t want to be off of you, you are stuck with a caterpillar on you forever. Forever.

Either you go to work with a caterpillar on your arm, or you’re late for work. Either way, the caterpillar wins.

July 8, 2019

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant…

Name one thing a wasp could do that a bee cant I'll wait

Be smaller than an amoeba.

Keep insect population under control.

Look this fuckin dope.

Honestly though I’m having trouble gauging the seriousness and tone of your question??? But just in case this is 100% serious, Wasps are awesome. I’m not an expert on wasps so I’m not really qualified to talk about them at length, but be aware that they serve an important ecological role. 

People seem to hate wasps thanks to having or hearing about encounters with just a handful of species, but there are thousands upon thousands of wasp species around the world. Many don’t even sting!  The word “wasp” applies to a large variety of hymenopterans, not just yellow jackets and paper wasps.  Even those species that tend to sting people are important (and awesome).  The variety if wasps in my back yard alone is pretty mind blowing. (I have a soft spot for mud daubers!

And if you ask me theyre just really cool. I mean its not a competition, I love bees. But wasps are underrated. I think of them as like the raptors of insects. Awesome looking, badass, capable. The hate that wasps get is VASTLY overblown.  

Like. I’m not saying you can’t be afraid of wasps. I’m not even saying you have to like them. But this wasp vs bees stuff is beyond unnecessary, it could actually be harmful. Theres a lot to appreciate about wasps! Try thinking of them as bees cool cousin!  

People who know more about wasps than I do, feel free to weigh in! And no one be mean to the question asker! 

Regular

glumshoe:

If you saw me at the tea shop today and I acted like I recognized you, I’m sorry—I assumed we worked together and I had met you before because I am dreadfully faceblind.

^ me af

In case this ever comes up, yes I am hella faceblind. I can’t even recognize my family if I run into them randomly (it’s happened before). So if somebody comes up to me in public and starts talking to me, I have absolutely no idea who it could be. Former classmate? Colleague? Someone I talk to every day online but have never met in person before? 

So anyways, on the off chance I ever crawl out of my hole and one of y’all runs into me and wants to say hi (and yes, say hi! that’s fine!), just say you follow my tumblr. If you want, I’ll show you pictures of bugs on my phone, identify pictures of bugs on your phone

July 5, 2019

No, Those Aren’t Mosquitoes Frying in Your Bug…

No, Those Aren’t Mosquitoes Frying in Your Bug Zapper:

bogleech:

People still buy bug zappers despite the fact that multiple studies going back to the 70′s have only ever found that they attract more mosquitoes to your yard without actually killing them. Meanwhile, they do kill hundreds and hundreds of beneficial insects. This is a product that should be downright banned, honestly, not just for ecological harm but because it increases risk of disease for anybody who uses one.

I was meeting with a guy who wanted to hire me to write entomology articles for his website. My mistake for assuming he wanted my expertise, he just needed a good writer and attempted to correct some facts on the first article I wrote for him (which is on his website, and which uses my photos without crediting me despite my clear and explicit licencing terms, so I won’t share the link and give him the free advertising he wants).

Anyways, we were sitting under his UV lamp, which he said he bought because the sellers said it got rid of mosquitos. “I don’t really believe that,” he said while spraying his entire body with one of many cans of DEET laying around his table, “but I don’t see any mosquitos so I keep it up.” Meanwhile, I swatted mosquitos away from myself endlessly while he continued to talk about how much of an expert he was, for another 3 hours.

-_-

July 3, 2019

Regular

Taking notes from an audio recording of an interview I had with a retired wildlife biologist/naturalist friend of mine for an article I’m writing, and it’s absolutely ridiculous how frequently one or both of us interrupted the entire interview to start baby talking at a bird who showed up to one of his feeders and/or we just up and left the house to check out a moth that started flapping at his sliding glass door.

Seriously, I ruined what would have been an excellent quote to call a cardinal a Handsome Man then we both got distracted when a baby titmouse showed up.

July 3, 2019, 3:22 am

bogleech: While I love seeing people sympathi…

bogleech:

While I love seeing people sympathize with insects, I’ve noticed an increasing trend in the insect groups of people who think killing their natural predators is a good thing to do. Come on! I don’t think these folks would advocate shooting a lion to protect a gazelle.

One particularly unfortunate example I keep seeing are people putting caterpillars “out of their misery” for being covered in parasitic wasp cocoons. It’s well meaning on paper, but what it really means is that a bunch of baby insects just died instead of only one, and those baby insects were a plant’s most important line of defense against the caterpillar.

Empathizing with living things is important, but you can’t play favorites or treat some as “bad guys” for fulfilling their whole purpose!

I need to dig through my photos to find the ichneumon wasp that emerged from a sphinx moth pupa I had. Absolutely gorgeous. I loved her. The pupa had become a different shape, and the inside is iridescent. She was perfect. Meeting her was so special because I had no idea who she would be. A true gift.

June 30, 2019

FYI: Life a Mess; Slow Response

nanonaturalist:

Hi y’all,

Just want to let everybody know that I love you all, and I know my inbox is full of things going back to A YEAR AGO that people have submitted (sorrrrrry). I swear I’ll answer everything. 

I’m going through a really tough time right now, and I’m not always able to respond quickly because I don’t come on tumblr every day. So if I haven’t responded to your submission, it’s because I’m an unemployed mess, and I’m not ignoring you, and I’m SORRY 🙁 

BUT I do know that y’all have Insect Emergencies so if you need help, I do get notifications when I get asks, and I do respond to DMs when I’m on my computer (the notifications on the app are all screwed up again, thanks staff). Photos help a lot

June 17, 2019

(PS: seriously if anybody has connections and can help me get a job in Austin I’ll love you forever, my LinkedIn page is here [link], and yes, I’m wearing the shark pants in the profile photo [link].)

Reblob to bump this up above the WALL O’TEXT

Writing all that jazz about being a naturalist and seeing everybody’s response seriously uplifted me.

I also have a couple phone interviews coming up (job search tip: don’t waste your time filling out job applications, do a mail merge and blast out your resume and *what looks like a personalized email* to smallish companies you want to work for, even if they’re not hiring. I spent four months sending out over 130 resumes, got two phone screens. Last Tuesday, I sent 53 emails in an hour, and two phone screens?!). So maybe there is hope?!

I’ve procrastinated an actual writing assignment past my deadline (oops), but once I get that done, I might actually have steam to start powering through my inbox. Some GOOD BUGS and GOOD QUESTIONS I can’t wait to get to.

In the meantime, please continue to DM me for Insect Emergencies! (Examples: what does this caterpillar eat, is this caterpillar injured, is this bug dangerous, etc.)

June 30, 2019

Maybe you can find the queen in all that mess …

Maybe you can find the queen in all that mess and, well. I don't wanna say squish but needs does as the devil drives and all that.

The wonderful and magical thing about Solenopsis invicta, the Red Imported Fire Ants, is they come in two different flavors: single queen colonies, and multiple queen colonies.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension puts it pretty well [link to their Fire Ant FAQ]:

Multiple queen (polygyne form): more than one and up to hundreds of unrelated queens per colony; smaller average worker ants; worker ants move freely from one mound to another and share resources; mound densities greater than 300 mound per acre; more ants per acre.

GUESS WHICH FORM MY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS?!

Every time I post anything about fire ants, I get all sorts of suggestions for how to deal with them from people who do not live on former farmland in Texas. Folks, my entire yard is fire ants. If I dig a random hole anywhere in my yard, I will hit a fire ant nest. My entire neighborhood is like this, I asked my neighbors

I will say, by establishing a healthy ecosystem in my yard (and by NOT WATERING A LAWN), the fire ants actually have to compete with some of the native ants, and they have been driven out of some areas by native species, so my fire ant problem is not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago.

Also, the ants in the photos I posted are safely tucked away in the freezer. It’s the only way to safely get them out of the hand vac. I guess I may as well put the pupae in alcohol. Fire ants are one of the few bugs I do not feel bad about killing (well… maybe a little, but I still have scars on my hand from the Cat Food Incident three years ago, the first time they invaded my house, so… I said this was war).

June 29, 2019

Regular

freakingbbc:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

theresonlyzuul:

nanonaturalist:

mossworm:

I cannot stress enough that you do not need a degree to become a naturalist / discover new species… you just need to care about living things and have a passion for them. Going to college just gets you closer to good resources (museum collections and career biologists) but you do not NEED a degree to access either of those things. 

It can be useful to get one if you can! But you do not NEED one and there is no time limit for getting one.

FYI to all my followers: I am not a “real” entomologist

I went to college and have a masters degree… in engineering.

I have never taken any course in animal biology, taxonomy, let alone entomology.

Everything I know about nature and wildlife, I learned by myself because I was interested in these topics. I went out on guided hikes the state parks put on with experts, and I made connections with people who had gone to college and studied wildlife biology.

I raised moth and butterfly eggs I found in my yard, sometimes hatching parasites instead. I reached out to people online through bugguide forums and via iNaturalist, and got to submit parasitic wasps that hadn’t yet been documented in Io moth eggs, to the entomologist at Texas A&M University who was revising the genus they were in—before I could have told you the difference between an assassin bug and a leaf-footed bug. I raised stick insects I found in my yard, and ended up shipping some to a real entomologist who had never photographed the species, and needed one for a field guide he is writing.

You will be amazed what resources you have available to you if you just ask. Lamenting your lack of access to museum specimens in the back storage areas? Contact the curator for your area of interest at your local museum, explain you are an amateur x-ologist, and you are interested in studying y species. Is there a time you could arrange to view the collections? THEY WILL SAY YES!!!! You’re a high school student, worried they won’t take you seriously? EVEN BETTER, THEY WILL LOVE YOU!!! Aim for a university collection if there is one nearby.

College is great if that’s your thing, but it won’t make you a naturalist. You will make you a naturalist.

June 27, 2019

GOD YES THIS *slams fist on table*

I have a degree in animation and I’ve worked for ten years as natural history curator in various natural history museums, with entomology being my focus. You definitely don’t need a science degree as long as you’re willing to learn.

Also, as a natural history curator I can confirm that we WILL say yes if you want to study the collections. That’s what museums are there for!

I will add!

I have a friend who got his PhD in physics who was the entomology curator at a natural history museum for several years, and currently works as a research scientist in an entomology research lab at a university. He studies the various ways insects manipulate light with nano-structured features on their bodies (hey, physics!) to understand how they might be able to see their environment.

Whatever skills you already have are useful for whatever naturalist-centric lifestyle you want to lead! I’ve got the adhd hyperfixation curse and a penchant for staying online for 36+ hours straight. Of course I surged to the top of the iNaturalist leaderboards (and doing my bug IDs on there is how I learned everything I know!).

What skills do you have? How can you use them to be a naturalist? Who can you network with to put those skills to work in a way that’s meaningful for you? The naturalist community is full of people with a common mission. Any newcomer is welcomed with open arms and we love helping newbies.

June 28, 2019

A news article about people like me (and you?!):

Link to article: Species Sleuths: Amateur Naturalists Spark a New Wave of Discovery

June 28, 2019

this just makes me feel like the degree I’m pursuing is useless

Like

Environmental Biology degree who? if it’s supposed to give me more opportunities but in what

If people can get jobs in my field without experience (which is wonderful and inspiring trust me!) I just, what’s the point for me

Okay so, @freakingbbc what I’m saying is, anybody can be a naturalist. Anybody can go out and make discoveries as an amateur and have an impact on the world.

But dose of reality: getting paid employment in a field where you are competing with people who have specialized training and experience requires excessive amounts of dedication, time, skill, luck, dark magic, ritual sacrifice, and time travel. I wouldn’t drop out of school just yet if I were you.

I have been applying to jobs with Texas Parks and Wildlife (including a job that I am the most qualified person in the state for, who my good friend Sam K up there begged me to apply to because he knows I am the most qualified person in the state), but the jobs require a BS in wildlife biology, which I don’t have. And they’re government jobs, so they screen out everyone who doesn’t have the degree, and my applications never sees the light of day.

For now, all my naturalist work continues to be a hobby I squeeze into spare moments. Maybe someday I can turn this into a legit non-profit and make scicomm my job. But it’s not happening now.

Another dose of reality from A Tumblr Old Who Has Been There: As I said in my first post at the top, your degree will not make you a naturalist. Similarly, your college degree will not get you a job.

I repeat: Your college degree is worthless.

I made this mistake in 2005 and I’m still dealing with the consequences now: you cannot simply take your classes, get your degree, and expect to get a job. Everybody has a degree now. It doesn’t make you employable anymore. Entry-level jobs all require experience, but how are you supposed to get experience, you only just graduated? You were supposed to be doing internships, undergraduate research, or student club projects, except nobody tells you that!

Want to make absolutely certain you muscle all these uneducated naturalists out of your way when you are applying for jobs? Get experience! There are amateur naturalists who set up legitimate research labs in their homes and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals. You have access to academic research facilities with cuttting-edge technological capabilities they don’t.

Do a search for jobs now, see what the requirements are. You’d be hard-pressed to find one somebody without your degree could land. It will be much easier for you to find your way in!

June 29, 2019