September 28, 2009

Free but not FREE week

This week we didn't have lecture or lab. I'm sure your thinking that meant that I would have some more free time to use in order to focus on my proposal, right? NO!!!

We had multiple assignments due last week and this week. So I pulled those together and made all the deadlines. WHEW!!! Maybe, NOW I can find some time for my proposal.

So, if you want to see the insect bytes that I pulled together go to the links below.

I decided to find some videos of insects eating so check them out if you have time: Dragonfly eating a horse fly

Preying mantis taking out a mouse, YES I said mouse; this is NOT for the faint of heart

Assasin bug feeding from a vampire bat

September 21, 2009

Lab 3: Pentamid Sampling & Other Unexpected Findings

This weeks lab assignment was to sample for Green Stink Bugs (Order Homoptera, Family Pentamidae, Acrosternum hilare) at the Ashland Bottoms Research Farm.

Brief Description: Green Stink Bugs are large, green, triangular insects with a large scutellum. Their name comes from the fact that they produce a disagreeable odor (I have never smelled this odor so I can't confirm that it is disagreeable).

Pest Status: The pest status depends on the species.
Three species can be found in the United States:
1. Nezara viridula (Southern Green Stink Bug) is a pest on many crops including soybeans
2. Podisus maculiventris (Spined Soldier Bug) is a beneficial insect which primarily feeds on caterpillars
3. Acrosternum hilare (Green Stink Bug) can be either a pest or a beneficial insect; as a pest it will suck sap from the stems, leaves, and reproductive parts of soybeans and other crops

Development & Life Cycle: Green Stink Bugs have paurometabolis (gradual-metamorphosis) development. This form of development is characterized by the life stages living in similar environments and eating similar foods; the nymphs (young) resemble the adults except that they have no wings, later nymphal stages have wing pads, coloration is different, the nymphs molt into larger and more developed stages until they reach adulthood, and they have no external genitalia. Adults and nymphs have sucking-piercing mouth parts.

Sampling & Damage: Green Stink Bugs are typically found in field borders before fruit is set and then they move into the field as pods and fruit are available. In soybeans, the adults and nymphs pierce the pods and feed on the seeds. This feeding results in small and shriveled seeds which reduce the market value of the crop.

NOTE: this damage is chewing damage likely from a caterpillar NOT a stink bug! I did see several caterpillars and adult grasshoppers which also cause chewing damage but are usually at the leaf edge not in the middle of the leaf.

Below is the map of the farm and the locations where I sampled (each sample is 10 sweeps of the net- so you take a step, sweep, step, sweep, continue for 10 net sweeps) for pentamids.

I tried to use a stratified-random sampling plan. However, I didn't realize the extent of the soybeans until I was in the back of the research plot and discovered that there were more soybeans on the sides of the wheat plots. I, also, chose not to sample in front of the research plots since I didn't want to disturb the research going on there & we parked there so we likely disturbed the area moving around. In the future, I want to get a generalized map BEFORE sampling so I can get a better handle on what type of method to use.

Below is the chart for my samples, numbers found, mean (average found in sample), variance (variation of samples), and standard deviation (also known as standard error, square root of variance).

The mean, variance, and standard error are used to determine the correct sample size to determine stink bug densities.
2.77 samples at the 90% confidence interval
1.36 samples at the 95% confidence interval
Please note that this is a very small number of samples but the mean and variance is going to be "pushed" by the number of zeros in the samples. For the adults this may not matter as much since I either found one or no adults. However, the number of nymphs found ranged from 0-5 so the zeros could definitely be skewing the data. My sampling plan could have missed some "hot spots" since I didn't sample four areas (including the research plot which we were asked NOT to sample) of the field.

We were, also, asked to time our sampling which I neglected to do. However, it took about 1.5 hours to do all the sampling and take all the photos. It may have been easier to do a present/absent count and given what I found it may have been just as precise.

I, also, observed multiple beneficial insects in every sample except numbers 2 and 14. The beneficial insects found: Adult & Nymph Lady Bug, Lacewing Nymph & Adult, Adult Spiders (several kinds), Adult Opiliones (Daddy-Long Legs - I won't get technical here but they are different from spiders {subject for another blog?}), and an Adult Nabid (Damsel Bug). I observed a Dragonfly flying around the field; I'm going to assume that was a female looking for food since males tend to be protecting territories at this time of year. In addition, in sample seven I found a cute, tree frog which is another form of biological control. Unfortunately, I didn't have a container with me otherwise he/she would have gotten to come home with me to live with the cats, tarantulas, & small jungle.

Experience Rating: I have previously sampled for insects in soybeans & this was different than I expected but it was a different field location. The number of pentamids found was similar to the previous sampling but there were far more beneficial insects. In addition, there were not many other damaging insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, and bean leaf beetles which were in abundance in the previously sampled field. However, the other field was sampled last year so it is possible that the results from this field are similar to what can be found in that field this year.

I would say that this was a positive experience especially since this is the FIRST time I have caught a frog (NOTE to self- MUST carry a container for living specimens)!

Interesting/Educational Links: (stink bug fact sheet) (stink bug fact sheet with color photos) (management options for Kansas)

References Used:

Pedigo, l. P., Rice, M. E. 2006. Entomology and Pest management, 5th Edition, Pearson/ Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

September 14, 2009

Lab 2: The “shock & awe” of Internet tools

This week’s lab was originally going to occur outside but due to the rain we were forced to stay inside and learn more about the Internet programs we will be using for this class.

These tools are:


This is probably the most familiar website for KSU students and is used to post lecture notes, grades, assignments, e-mail announcements to students, etc. I like this site, its easy to use and is a central location for everything that I need to have for class.

Day 1 after 2 hours


This site can be used as a hub for additional websites. Once, the teacher explained what this site could do for me I was excited to hear about it. However, there were multiple problems with getting the site to work to my satisfaction (no it still is not to my satisfaction but its closer).

The first hurdle was trying to figure out how to get websites that are not already a widget (like,, or After multiple unsuccessful attempts I discovered the “website widget” which allows you to insert websites.

I'm still having problems signing into several websites from my home netvibes page and I'm still working in multiple tabs which I was hoping to do away with.

The start of my private page


We have not done much with this site other than update our profile and “look around.” However, again there was a problem with using Once I figured out how to get this site on netvibes (see below for how to do this if interested), I then had problems signing on to the site through netvibes so that I could edit my profile. I resorted to opening another tab and working through there and then going back to netvibes. At some point, I managed to get the widget on netvibes to log me in and now I can work on netvibes instead of in a new window. Unfortunately, I have NO IDEA how I did it so please don't ask.


No problems with the site other than personal ones, however, placing the widget on and trying to figure out how to tweet and send direct messages to the teacher was not a user friendly experience.

The start of Day 2- revitalized & plugged into


This site is used to collect information found on the Internet in one place. Additionally, you can highlight important passages and post notes on the bookmarked sites. However, you have to download their toolbar in order to successfully use this tool. I had to agree to multiple security overrides in order to download the toolbar and install it on my laptop. Since, I don't have permission to download programs on my work computer and I don't carry my laptop everywhere I go this software is not what I would consider user friendly. Additionally, I rarely use the Internet for ANY type of research. The only exception to this is when I'm required to for a class and then I tend to do the minimum Internet search required and for the bulk of the assignment use books and journals that I find through the library.


This site has allows you to post videos for people to see. I had the same problems with using this site on netvibes as mentioned. In addition, I can NOT get the videos embedded on this site. I was hoping that this was just a network problem but I’m using a different network today and I still can’t get it to work even though I followed the teachers’ verbal instructions. I guess when I have time I will watch the video that the teacher put together to explain how to embed. So here are a couple of links with some videos that I found that I hope that you enjoy.

Not educational but VERY funny and I needed the laugh so check it out! (Ladybug Dance).

Educational video especially if you have never seen an adult ladybug eat an insect ; )


I think that I have successfully set up my blog and so far I have no problems with posting or editing pages. However, I still have not figured out a good way to label the photos but I may come up with something and then share it.

Day 2 after 4 hours

Experience Rating:

So, I'm going to rate this experience based on what the instructor said on the first day, “I wouldn't use these tools if they didn't make my life easier” since I too follow this general philosophy. In general, these tools DO NOT make my day-to-day life any easier and frankly they added quite a bit of frustration. I have spent more hours than I care to admit in trying to figure out how to get these tools to work for me which was part of the assignment for this blog. Overall, I had a positive experience with two of these sites, one was so-so, and the others were negative.

September 8, 2009

Lab I: A Review of Entomology "101"

This lab was designed to refresh our “entomology memory banks.”
The assignment was to sort alfalfa and soybean samples for unique individuals.

Alfalfa sample

Soybean Sample

Table 1: The common name, life stage(s), and crop(s) of the unique individuals found in Alfalfa (KEY: A = Adults, L = Larva, N = Nymph).

Table 2: The common name, life stage(s), and crop(s) of the unique individuals found in Soybean (KEY: A = Adults, L = Larvae, N = Nymphs) .

NOTE: the differences between the sizes of the samples and the number of "unique" individuals found in the samples. Fortunately, we did not have to do absolute counts but a presence/absence count.

Then sort the individuals by mouth part(s), antennae, and leg types.

Table 3: The mouth part, antennae, and leg type found in sample bag(s) by order.

The next part of the assignment is to select one of the individuals (alfalfa butterfly) and draw its mouth parts, antennae, and leg; label the different parts of these characteristics.

Most of these characters along with wing type can help place an individual in their correct order. If there was enough time, we were to organize the individuals by wing type.

Table 4: The description of the wing types found in the samples by order.

Experience "Rating":

This lab was pretty much what I expected- a review of basic insect structures. The samples that we sorted were similar to the ones that I collected during Insect Pest Management both in size and "unique" insects. HOWEVER, the finding of the red flour beetle (RFB) in the alfalfa sample makes me ask questions such as:

What the .... is that doing there (for those of you that don't know, I work with RFB and they are typically a stored product pest but they do fly & can be found in the "wild")?

Where exactly was this sample collected (so I can determine where the RFB could have came from)?

Cool Links that I think you will find informative and "fun":

"Lacewing Larva gets Lunch" a very cool video a brief description of what the differences are between insects & arachnids a remedial lesson in insect mouth parts an intense description of insects includes physiology & other "fun" stuff

References (used but not cited above):

Borror, D.J., Triplehorn, C.A., Johnson, N. F. 1989. An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 6th Edition. Thompson Learning Inc. United States of America.

Elzinga, R. J. 2000 Fundamentals of Entomology, 5th Edition. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Salsbury, G.A., White, S.c. 2000. Insects in Kansas. Kansas Department of Agriculture.

September 5, 2009

Why hasn't she blogged anything and is this worth my time?

Hello All:

I have had several people e-mail or call wanting to know the frequency of my blog updates.

This class is on Wednesday afternoon and the blog assignment is due by 5pm on the following Wednesday. Therefore, my GOAL is to actually post the blog sometime between Friday and Monday afternoon.

Thanks for having an interest in what I have to say about bugs and I promise some exciting insect world information soon (hopefully tomorrow) !!!!