Matt and Erin talk briefly about resurging soybean aphid populations around northern Iowa. In some fields, aphid numbers have increased as fields reach full seed set. They also talk about 2 videos of potential interest to everyone. The first video shows off the extremely high numbers of mosquitoes in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. The second video talks about the importance of Bt resistance management of insects. Finally, Matt shares a F.I.T. and art at Iowa State University.
Matt and Erin were supposed to be in Savannah, GA for a soybean symposium this week. But due to Hurricane Irma, the conference was canceled and they created a bonus episode of random topics. Soybean is quickly maturing throughout Iowa and insects are making preparations for the winter. Matt summarized a last-minute soybean research symposium recapping some of the presentations planned for the Georgia gathering. Both Matt and Erin noticed a lot of wasp activity around human structures and Matt explained they lose their social structure this time of year. Erin thinks she might have Lyme disease and will update listeners on her progress the next episode (teaser!). ISU faculty member, Ryan Smith, shared the blacklegged tick is expanding range in Iowa and the proportion of infected ticks is increasing in Iowa (see this survey summary for more details). Dr. Smith also said there are 195 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Iowa so far this year. Finally, Matt talks about another great F.I.T. of Ward Kimball, creator of Jiminy Cricket.
The long-awaited teaser is resolved in today's episode. Erin reveals she did get Lyme disease this summer. She recaps the experience and outlook for the future. There are 232 confirmed or probable cases of Lyme disease in Iowa this year, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. References to Lyric's tick paper can be found in the previous episode. Matt brings up another interesting F.I.T. (fun insect trivia) featuring two entomologists: Jeffrey Lockwood and C. V. Riley. Lockwood is a rangeland entomologist focused on grasshopper management, and an award-winning author and University of Wyoming professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities. He writes science and fiction books, including his latest crime novel called Poison Justice. Riley also studied grasshoppers but is most known as the Father of Classical Biocontrol. He was one of the first to practice biocontrol, introducing a beetle that was the natural enemy to a scale that was damaging the California citrus industry.
Today, Matt and Erin cover a wide range of topics. First, there are two entomologists interviewing for ISU president: Sonny Ramaswamy and Wendy Wintersteen. But the conversation is quickly diverted into talking about why entomologists make good leaders. Matt has another F.I.T. that includes a reference to Hogwarts. Tom Saunders named a new parasitoid wasp species after Lucius Malfoy, a character in the Harry Potter series. The new wasp was named Lusius malfoyi. Erin asks Matt about fall nuisance invaders around Ames, including multicolored Asian lady beetles, minute pirate bugs, and brown lacewings. Erin gives a shout-out to an insect-related podcast, Arthropod, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This interesting series goes in-depth on insects and closely related species (e.g., painted lady butterflies and brown recluse spiders). Lastly, they are spreading the word about a fundraiser for BugGuide - help them meet their goal of $15,000!
Today, Matt and Erin take a major detour and talk about an art exhibit that features fantasy coffins. Matt visited with Eric Anang, an artist-in-residence at the University of Iowa. Erik's family is from Ghana and they have a tradition of building fantasy coffins designed to reflect unique personalities. He recently was interested in the decline of insects, particularly lightening bugs, in his native area and that sparked the idea for this exhibit. You can see the exhibit at the Blackbox Memorial Theater at U of I now and can hear Matt give a seminar on October 26.
Matt and Erin just got back from the Annual Entomological Society of America meeting in Denver and their brains are full! They summarize some of their favorite presentations and other highlights from the meeting. Specifically, Matt enjoyed a presentation by Cornell student Maxwell Helmberger who used entomopathogenic nematodes to manage grubs in turf. Maxwell has a YouTube channel with some fun animations!
The Soybean Pest Podcast is alive and kicking again! Matt and Erin had a long winter's nap but started Season 9 with a good conversation about new students and research, Bt soybean in the U.S., some upcoming events and recent pest activity in Iowa.
Matt's latest F.I.T. (fun insect trivia) is related to the Little House on the Prairie.
Today, Matt and Erin bounce around a few topics of insect-related news. The black flies and mosquitoes have been especially aggressive in central Iowa this week. Erin summarizes field crop pest activity in central and southern Iowa, mainly some caterpillar feeding in corn and bean leaf beetle feeding in soybean. Matt's F.I.T. is somewhat random, but eventually ties it together with an insect.
In this episode, Matt and Erin talk about randomness for the first 4 minutes (like usual). But they eventually move into recent insect activity in Iowa. The black flies, sometimes called buffalo gnats, are especially active this year and are aggressive blood feeders. It's hard to be outside the last two weeks because the females are swarming and causing painful bites. Matt noted an absence of soybean aphid activity on buckthorn, the overwintering host. They are unsure what this means for colonization timing and dynamics on soybean this summer. Matt presents a timely and interesting F.I.T. that combines soccer, Midwestern history and entomology.
In this podcasting episode, Matt and Erin talk about a disagreement in insect ID. The false Japanese beetle often emerges before the true Japanese beetles and people mistakenly confuse the two species. Erin recently wrote about the timing of adult emergence of JB in ICM News and how to tell the difference between the two species in an ICM Blog post. By the way, we think Erin was right on this one even though Matt was super confident! Matt gives a quick summary of hexapods used as college team mascots (Thanks to fellow podcaster, Jonathan Larson at UNL, for the list!). Pollinator Fest is next weekend at Reiman Gardens.