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Real Entomologists, @Stylopidae, @Ms_Mars, and @SciBugs answer your questions about bugs! Shoot us a question below!
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Aug 26, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Yeah, we get pictures/videos of this occasionally.

Ants don't really do 'funerals'; even the dead in their own colonies are put into a garbage dump rather unceremoniously.

There's a handful of possibilities for this behavior... 1.) They may be attempting to bury it, especially if it's on a hard surface.

Lots of ants bury large food items to protect it from scavengers, other ants, and to absorb liquid which comes out from the prey.
Aug 25, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
I think this problem hits at the heart of the issue when it comes to Eckbom's, because it's often not about infestations.

This deserves it's own thread to describe how complicated this problem is, and how poorly understood it is. So...first, I believe that these people are accurately describing their perceptions of medical issues.

Urban IPM Extension people can go through samples to find insects, inspect homes for infestations (bed bugs, fleas, etc), get someone to do skin scrapings for Scabies, etc.
Aug 25, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read
Scientists make their living using their brains to interpret data.

So what happens when that organ breaks, and a respected researcher becomes mentally ill?

In this week's second #DeepDive, let's explore the case of Jay Traver.

CW: Mental illness Jay Traver was one of the early entomological pioneers. Her career centered mainly around aquatic insects, specifically mayflies.

Most of her work-which is still cited to this day-revolved around describing the lifecycles of mayflies.
Aug 24, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
A new meme going around FB claims the WoodLouse Spider is a "deadly new species" wrecking havoc in the Southern US

It's a completely harmless spider, but it still has a neat story to tell.

For the first of this week's two #DeepDives, let's explore the biology of Dysdera crocata So, for the first tweet in this series, let's put these rumors to rest with data.

There's a lot of verified bites from D. crocata in the medical literature-which is rare. One person allowed themselves to be purposely bitten multiple times.

No deaths; everyone was just fine.
Aug 21, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of our colleagues, Vazrick Nazari, has been arrested for possession of child pornography.

We cannot tolerate exposing our followers to this sort of person, and have blocked him from our feed.

ottawacitizen.com/news/local-new… We did consult him for help with moth IDs here on Twitter, and although there's no way we could have known he was doing this, we still feel the need to apologize for exposing our readers to-and let's just put it as bluntly as possible-an alleged child predator.
Aug 18, 2018 27 tweets 7 min read
With Glyphosate being in the news due to a recent court ruling, let's take this opportunity to explore the history of pest control in this week's #DeepDive.

It's a huge and complex topic, so the best we can do is a brief overview. It's not really known when humans started using pesticides.

The first agricultural societies began about 10,000 BCE, with several independent shifts around the world from relatively nomadic lifestyles to those tending crops.
Aug 12, 2018 17 tweets 6 min read
For tonight's #DeepDive, let's talk a little bit about how insects use venom *and* poison for various things.

The divisions can be weird, and there's a lot of ways that venoms and poisons can be used!

Thanks to @RosemaryMosco for comic permission!

amazon.com/Birding-My-Fav… When we think of venom or poison, we typically think about the act of eating...and for good reason.

Venom/poisons are used to either help something eat, or keep something from being eaten.

flic.kr/p/asPjzA
Aug 6, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Super late to this party (sorry about this!). This is not a 'tarantula hawk', it is a paper wasp.

Tarantula hawks tend to be very "curly", with their antennae forming loops. Paper wasps tend to spread their wings like that, and aren't as "curly".

Thread below. With respect to the replies in @chrissyteigen's thread, it's easy to see how the whole situation can be confusing. If you see a bunch of people arguing, it's hard to know who knows their stuff.

Often times, the loudest people, or the most common replies seem to be correct.
Jul 15, 2018 14 tweets 5 min read
So...this is an interesting question, and answering it gives us a chance to see how scientific names are created, why they change over time, and why they change over time.

The moth named in this article is actually Resapamea stipata.

bugguide.net/node/view/2035…

#DeepDive Resapamea stipata isn't one of the big corn pests that we're used to seeing, and I actually had to do some serious digging to find any agriculture information.

It's a very rare pest of corn; only found when corn is grown alongside its host by accident.

lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewconten…
Jul 8, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
So...we're planning another history of science Deep Dive in the near future, and there's an *extremely weird* side story about Robert Oppenheimer of Manhattan Project fame that I wanted to highlight.

It turns out that he was a bit of a creeper.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Robert… Early on in Oppenheimer's career, he planned on doing a collaboration with Linus Pauling to figure out how chemical bonds worked.

However, he soon became smitten with Ava Pauling...who was Linus Pauling's wife.
Jul 7, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read
For our second #Pride2018 thread, let's delve a bit deeper into same sex bug hookups.

Same sex mating, like in the picture below, has been studied pretty intensely in bed bugs, but also in the Fruit fly Drosophila.

So let's talk a little bit about Fruitless!

#DeepDive Fruitless is an insect-specific gene which turns on the developmental pathways needed for mating behaviors to happen in insects.

There's no equivalent in humans, so there's not really a way to make comparisons.
Jun 25, 2018 17 tweets 4 min read
Bed bug sex is incredibly violent, and never voluntary.

The male's penis is a dagger he uses to forcibly inseminate the female, puncturing her body wall and injecting sperm directly into the bloodstream.

So how does he know when he's found a female?

He doesn't.

#DeepDive Again, before we continue...bed bug sex does not resemble anything human sex should resemble.

See disclaimer:

Jun 22, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read
Hi, #BTCon18!

We're Ask an Entomologist, a #SciComm project ran by @SciBugs, @Ms_Mars, and @Stylopidae!

We all have research jobs, but we're also interested in how people interact with insects in online spaces.

Let's explore how people think about bugs! We've gathered our data by soliciting questions primarily from non-scientists through email and Facebook, and we analyze those questions to see what patterns are constant.

Lots of pest control questions, and lots of bugs people want ID'd.

However, once you get past that...
Jun 22, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read
Yeah, so...this is a really good question about a word we used in that last Sciarid tweet.

"Voltrons" is not a technical term, but I kind of feel like it should be.

Especially for formations like this.

Thread below, although not quite a #DeepDive. Take a look at the insects in the original tweet from @natevanwechel and compare them to the sawflies below.

More or less, they're doing the same thing for reasons/benefits that aren't entirely clear.

Jun 10, 2018 19 tweets 6 min read
For this week's #DeepDive, let's talk about the Southern Flannel Moth!

It's not well known, although we get lots of pictures of these guys.

Severe outbreaks can cause schools to be cancelled, so this is a very weird and important venomous caterpillar.

flic.kr/p/21bvzep I am aware of three major outbreaks of these guys, although I'm certain there are others which have escaped my attention.

All three happened in Texas, one in 1913 and 1920 closed schools until the caterpillars could be sprayed. A third, in 1958 resulted in thousands of stings.
May 19, 2018 25 tweets 7 min read
just released @wildwildcountry, a documentary which explores the first confirmed bioterror attack in US history.

However there's one biosecurity incident that still perplexes entomologists.

For this week's #DeepDive, let's talk about The 1989 California Medfly Incident Medflies are one of the most damaging pests in the world because they feed directly on the most valuable parts of plants, rendering fruit inedible before harvest.

Conservatively, an introduction would cost tens of billions of dollars in damage.

flic.kr/p/7n9VsS
Apr 21, 2018 28 tweets 8 min read
So...for this week's #DeepDive, let's talk about some of the insect rescuing ideas that seem to go viral at this time every year.

A lot of these ideas are obviously well intentioned, but at best, have neutral effects.

Some of them are even harmful. The first thing I'd like to bring up is this post by @BugEric, which discusses wing repair in Monarchs.

He hits a lot of the same points we'll be discussing today.

bugeric.blogspot.com/2017/10/saving…
Jan 28, 2018 19 tweets 6 min read
Yeah, the interactions between moths and bats are totally awesome and should really be discussed.

There's actually a lot of controversy here...nobody really agrees on how exactly it's done but moths *do* disrupt bat attacks using sound. So, I guess the first question...why bats?

Although it's commonly said bats like mosquitoes, mosquitoes are too small to provide them with a good meal and don't really comprise a large part of their diet.

Instead, they like those big, juicy moths.
Jan 20, 2018 36 tweets 8 min read
Although we disagree with this tweet...it gives us an opportunity to explore a really interesting topic.

What we now call 'queen' bees-the main female reproductive honeybees-were erroneously called 'kings' for nearly 2,000 years.

Why?

Let's explore the history of bees! We've been keeping bees for 5,000 years+ and what we called the various classes of bees was closely tied to the societies naming those classes.

For instance, in a lot of societies it was very common to call the 'workers' slaves because slavery was common at the time.