Category Archives: insects/spiders

Bumble Boosters Nest Box Project

Bumble Booster's nest box prototype
Bumble Booster's nest box prototype
The Bumblebee nest boxes have arrived! Two members of HNPNC are participating in a citizen science project led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researching how to build "better bumble bee domiciles". The boxes will be placed outdoors at the end of winter, before hibernating queens emerge and start looking for nest sites. We're excited to get started, although at this point … Continue Reading ››

Monarch Butterfly- RIP 2026

by Don Scallen, Vice-President
The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies is no more. Lepidopterists (butterfly and moth scientists) confirmed earlier this year, that the once familiar orange and black butterflies are essentially extinct. Their awe-inspiring north-south migrations, linking Mexico, the United States and Canada have ceased. Most of us are old enough to remember when monarchs were a frequent sight in meadows and gardens. The monarchs’ demise was not unexpected. For decades, people in all three North American countries ratcheted up … Continue Reading ››

Snow Spiders!

by Fiona Reid, President
Snow Spider
Snow Spider
Where there are abundant sources of food, as is the case well illustrated above, there will be predators. I was amazed when I walked in the woods at night, searching for elusive winter moths, to see spiders on the snow surface at intervals of just a few feet. This was on a mild night (relatively speaking) and their sub-nivean burrows may have … Continue Reading ››

Mimicry

by Don Scallen, Vice-President
People manage their appearance with clothing, jewelry and hair styles to present a particular image of themselves to the world. Deception is often involved. A muscled, leather-clad, tattooed man may be a powderpuff, but his fearsome exterior projects a formidable – “don’t mess with me!” – presence. Insects are masters of this bluff. There is a vast array of harmless flies and beetles for example, that have evolved to look like dangerous bees and wasps. This allows them to … Continue Reading ››

Pygmy Grasshoppers

Particularly in Spring, a walk in the woods might turn up a very tiny grasshopper among the dead leaves. These are likely Pygmy Grasshoppers, not ‘baby grasshoppers’. They are also known as ‘grouse locusts’ or ‘grouse grasshoppers’ or in one case, a ‘frog groundhopper’. Pygmy Grasshoppers are members of the suborder Tetrigodea and most occur in the Family Tetrigidae. One exception is Tettigidea lateralis that occurs in the closely-allied Family Batrachideidae. The seven species that are known to occur in … Continue Reading ››

Giant Swallowtails and Climate Change

Recently, one of the items covered by the news media was the change in distribution of various species owing to climate change. There are other causes for expansions of populations other than climate shifts but this discussion is limited to the global warming phenomenon. The media accounts included the recent appearance of fish species in the ocean much further north than where they normally occur. One species that was mentioned that has relevance to our own area was the Giant … Continue Reading ››