Insects

Common Whitetail
C.L. Goforth

The dragonfly is often celebrated for its glittering body and elegant flight, but the insect is also a ferocious predator and a boon for mosquito-ridden areas. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will celebrate the many facets of the dragonfly this year at its annual “Bugfest.” 

The house centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata .
Bruce Marlin / Wikipedia

Researchers are looking into how many arthropods may be living in US homes.  Arthropods include insects, spiders and centipedes.  Initial findings were based on searches of 50 free-standing houses in Raleigh.

Periodical Cicada Shells
Bill Reynolds

Arthropods comprise the great majority of the animal kingdom. Although many humans see them mostly as pests, they are vital to our everyday lives. They are pollinators, decomposers, and a nutrient-rich food source for a wide range of species.  

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences celebrates the world of bugs this Saturday with BugFest, a daylong event with entomologists, scientists, and more than 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities.

Love Motel for Insects: Eining Variation
Foto Mayer

There's a new establishment opening for one night only in Research Triangle Park. It's a Love Motel for Insects. Imagine several teepees lit up against the night sky - attracting area insects from far and wide.

It's a voyeuristic space. Once the ultraviolet light attracts the insects, people can look closely at them. Brandon Ballengée is the scientist/artist behind the project. An article in American Scientist Magazine provides some background:

An aerial view of BASF's Crop Protection and PlantScience site in Research Triangle Park.
BASF

Officials with a leading plant sciences company have expanded their presence in Research Triangle Park.  BASF cut the ribbon today on new lab, office and greenhouse space.  The expansion cost $33 million. 

The new addition includes an insect production facility, or an "insect zoo," to aid in testing bug-killing agents.  Nigel Armes is BASF's director of research and development.  He says the facility is key in establishing the company as a leader in insecticide production.

A roach hooked up to a computer controlled by video game software.
Alper Bozkurt

Do you ever wish that you could control roaches? That technology has now been developed, thanks to researchers at North Carolina State University. 

Unfortunately, it requires catching the roaches first.

Honey bees
David Tarpy

Honey bee populations have been struggling in recent years. New research out of NC State underlines the importance of genetic diversity as key to the honey bees' survival. The study took samples from 80 commercial colonies used to pollinate about a third of the food we eat. It found queens that mated at least seven times were nearly three times more likely to survive the season.

A 17-year periodic cicada from the Magicicada genus in Brood XIII. Cicadas from this genus will emerge in NC soon.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

North Carolinians in the western Triangle and Triad soon will be visited en masse by the ear-splitting song of the 17-year cicadas. Over the next ten days or so, cicadas from  a group classified as Brood II will begin emerging from the ground and begin a month-long mating frenzy. The females will lay their eggs by sawing little slits into twigs on trees and depositing their eggs into those slits. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and tunnel into the soil to feed on tree roots, where they'll stay for another 17 years until they become adults.

A cockroach cleaning an antenna
Ayako Wada-Katsumata

A new study from researchers at N.C. State finds that cockroaches must clean themselves incessantly in order to function properly. The findings are important not just for scientists studying insect behavior, but also – to the relief of those who suffer from infestations – might provide clues in developing more effective pesticides.

Creepy crawling creatures co-exist among us in our homes, but before you whip out the bug spray, consider this offer from scientist Michelle Trautwein. She and a team of researchers would like to inspect, collect samples from and analyze the insect species found in and around your home.

Bean plataspid
ncsu.edu

An insect that feeds on invasive kudzu is making its way into North Carolina. The so-called kudzu bug was first discovered in Georgia several years ago. Jack Bacheler is an entymologist with N.C. State University. He says the problem is the beetle, called the bean plataspid, also likes crops like soybeans.

Bedbugs have recently been found on the campus of Wake Forest University. Officials say dogs discovered evidence of the pests in a very small number of dorm rooms. Those rooms have been treated and are expected to be free of bedbugs as students arrive. Michael Waldvogel is an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina Statue University. He says N.C. State and Wake Forest use heat generating equipment to deal with any outbreaks of bedbugs.