Insects

Recent Stories

How do mosquitoes target a meal?

Mmmm, blood is tasty. Poison jackets are not. Photo: Aesum (flickr)

As summer winds down and people try to make the most out of the beautiful Michigan environment, many may be fighting off nature’s age-old enemy: the mosquito. But what makes mosquitoes more attracted to some people than others? Many myths have circulated about the cause of this rather annoying phenomenon, but scientific research is also out there about what factors make mosquitoes swarm to certain people (Hint: It has to do with a lot more than blood). Ned Walker, is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the Department of Entomology at MSU. He joins us to discuss the dining preferences of mosquitoes. Continue Reading →

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Fireflies in southern Michigan

Image: Ken Scott

Photographer Ken Scott captured these fireflies streaking through the night sky near Willis, Mich., with a series of photos taken over 40 minutes. The technique of merging multiple short exposures into one eliminates the possibility of overexposing the ambient light such as that coming from a nearby city, said Scott, a Suttons Bay professional photographer. It also captured one of the beetles trundling across the ground and flashing its light.  Scott said it wasn’t until he posted the image that he noted the insect’s ground trek from the lower right corner of the frame. “Yeah, that bugger was a bonus!” he said. Continue Reading →

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Photo Friday: An emerald on the beach

Kennedy's emerald dragonfly. Image: David Marvin

Note: This image and explanation is by David Marvin. Kennedy’s emerald dragonflies (Somatochlora kennedyi) tend to be fairly shy dragonflies when it comes to being photographed. This female Kennedy’s Emerald got caught in a quickly moving cold front along Lake Superior that caused it to land on the sandy beach, creating a rare occasion to photograph one without first capturing it. Its wings and body have dew that formed when the front arrived and the fog rolled inland. Kennedy’s Emerald dragonflies are related to other members of the Striped Emeralds of the Somatochlora genus, including the endangered Hine’s Emerald (Somatochlora hineana). Continue Reading →

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Mosquitoes triple

If you live in Michigan it seems like every summer is a time to complain about the mosquitoes being really bad this year, but how bad are they, really? Current State talked with Ned Walker about this year’s mosquito crop and some of the issues connected to mosquito-borne illness. He’s a professor in MSU’s Department of Entomology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Continue Reading →

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Wisconsin officials cut diseased trees at state park

Distribution of beech scales in Michigan in 2011. Image: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin State officials are cutting down trees in Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County that are infected with beech bark disease. The park has lots of beech trees and those that are infected pose a safety hazard, said Linda Williams, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources forest health specialist. Weakened limbs and trunks can snap off or fall over during strong winds. The idea is to remove dead trees before they harm visitors or staff. Infected trees that are within 75 feet of park trails are targeted, said Arnie Lindauer, a program analyst for the park. Continue Reading →

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