Growing up, the only bugs I liked were lady bugs. Lady bugs have a pretty good reputation among kids, they are small, don’t bite and their bright red wings make them visually pleasing and recognizable. Beyond lady bugs, I was not interested in coming across anything with six legs (or eight, but I’ll save that for another time). Fast forward several years, and I have developed an enjoyable fascination with insects. I am after all known as the bug lady among family and friends. My inbox is filled with messages of “what is this!?” from curious and sometimes freaked out acquaintances.
Every nature center I have worked at had “experts” in some area, like birds, plants and even fish. So far, I’ve not met another naturalist that takes an interest in bugs quite like I do. That’s where my interest and hobby of finding insects came from, since there was no colleague to take bugs to in order to be identified, I became the “bug expert”. During my undergrad I took an entomology class, giving me a bit more knowledge than most people. I really enjoyed learning about insects, along with finding and collecting different bugs for my class required insect collection. Those are some fond memories for my husband, seeing as how the insects had to be kept somewhere until I was able to pin them, and that somewhere was our freezer. The truth is my husband did not like opening the freezer and seeing containers with dead insects next to the bag of tator tots. Eventually the class ended much to the relief of my wonderful, understanding, smart husband (he’s probably reading this). That’s not to say an insect or two doesn’t end up in the freezer now and then, which is apparently slightly more bearable than 30. Nowadays my insect collection consists of photos I take as a hobby and to use in our educational programs. So if you ever find a bug you need identified, email me a photo, I can’t wait to see what you found!
Photo credit: Moth on window by Christie Collins