Tag Archives: Other

Buggy Funerals


In today’s news of the weird, wild, and unusual (of which I love more than any other news), a company is selling
Dead Bug Funeral Kits, complete with 32-page eulogy book (poems and euligies written by children in the throws of dead bug greif), grave markers, casket, and seeds to pretty up the burial site.

As an entomologist, I always just pinned and displayed my short-lived buggy pets, but maybe this kit will help me create the insect-inhabited cemetary of my dreams!



For the artsy bug lover in your life….


Mike Libby is an entomologist with an artist’s heart…or is it the other way around? Either way, he creates works of art that, in his own words, “explore themes of science, nature, fantasy, history and autobiography; highlighting illogical and acute correspondences between the real and unreal.”

The result? Some amazing pieces of mechanical insectory. His studio highlights the most interesting of his creations, and leaves us entomologists drooling for a piece of his work. Got an insect lover on your Christmas list? How about an extra $400 or so to spare? Then any of these pieces will do, thank you very much!


Etsy–the insect lover’s dream!


So, I’m an entomologist. And like every person who has ever mentioned a liking for insects, I receive every insect-endowed product known to humankind. T-shirts, napkin rings, dish sets, glasses, hair barretts, pens, stationary, humerous signs, socks, throw rugs, decorative pillows, wallpaper, you name it. If it has an insect emblasonzed on it, I have probably owned it.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I love presents! It’s just that when you have an interest such as entomology, it seems that people’s sense of style goes right out the window. Some of these products are great–for years I had a plate set from Cost Plus with green dragon flies on it. Subtle, yet unique. However, most of the insect-related products are henious. Manufactuers seem to know three bugs, and three bugs only: ladybugs, butterflies, and dragonflies. Now, a group known to be the most diverse group of animals on the planet should have more than three representatives in the free market, don’t you think? They should also be represented by beautiful, useful products that catch the eye and delight the senses, not cheaply manufactured crap that you can’t even begin to know what to do with. (Seriously–what am I going to do with a string of 6 ladybug-shaped bean bags hanging on a hook? They don’t even look like lady bugs! And why would I hang bean bags from something, anyhow? Just because it’s a bug doesn’t mean it’s a good product! Put the ugly thing down!)

Then I discovered Etsy.com…a bastion of handmade items from all over the world. Do a search for “insect” and 140 pages of products come up. One hundred and forty! These aren’t your every day insect offerings, either. Sure, there is the fair share of ladybugs, butterflies and dragonflies, but those are mixed in with things like damsel fly handbags, housefly pendants, scarab beatle onesies, ant polos, cicida-wing necklaces, silver blowflies, and every type of t-shirt you could imagine. (The picture above is a green preying mantis bra top, $14. The artist even takes custom requests!)

It’s like nirvana for the bug lover–no longer will I dispair at the thought of 15 more pairs of cartoon butterfly socks. Never again will I force a smile for my third set of ladybug drinking cups (now with cutsy smiles and little shoes!). My worries are over! And just in time for Christmas!


Field Guide to Venomous Invertebrates


I recently came accross a nice, basic field guide to the identification of venomous and medically important invertebrates (and I love how they didn’t call everything “insects” or “bugs”). Apparently this is a document written for military personell to help them identify insects that may cause problems.

Of course, I’ve noticed that a little information can be much more damaging, especially when it comes to which insects might kill you, than no information at all. You haven’t lived until you’ve dealt with a paniced football player convinced he’s going to die of a brown reculse bite. (He had a container with a cute little garden spider, and what looked like a mosquito bite on his arm). I’m all for getting the information out there, but most people won’t listen enough to get full disclosure. I prefer the “if you don’t know, don’t poke it” method of public education, but I understand where the armed services is coming from with this document.

That being said, this field guide is pretty good. It lists pretty much all the dangerous invertebrates in the entire world, though, which seems a bit too much to me. What soldier is going to remember every single dangerous bug? I’d personally give them an abriviated field guide including those insects in the area where they are stationed, and leaving out the stuff only found in the deepest jungles on the other side of the globe. But that’s just me.

I also liked that they included cockroaches on the list. One of the reasons? The presence of cockroaches may hurt moral. Dangerous indeed!

Alright, I’m done mildly making fun of the document. Overall it was pretty good, and I sure am going to keep it to look over a few more times. Enjoy!


Drunk again? Genes Say if You're a Lightweight

Fruit fly

Scientists are getting flies drunk again. Not for any nefarious purpose, mind you, but to discover the genetics behind ability to hold your liquor. They’ve discovered the gene that allows someone to drink their friends under the table, and they are manipulating it in fruit flies. This may lead better treatment for alcoholics (everything is going gene therapy now-a-days!)


Scientists Able to Kill Bt Resistant Bugs


Bt toxins kill insects by punching holes in their guts. However, many insects have become resistant to the Bt toxin, causing scientists to scramble, trying to find new pesticides to kill such pests as the bollworm (shown above).

For the first time, scientists study the mechanism of action in a pesticide and use it to design new drugs that will kill the Bt resistant pests. Go scientists!