Have a budding entomologist or future bug blogger on your hands? Below, expert entomologist and bug blogger Eric Eaton shares the humorous adventures he encounters in his career in order to bring us the latest fun facts, information, and breaking news on bugs.
Oops, I Lost A Bug!
Maybe you are wondering what we go through to bring you the bug stories we do here at the Insectlopedia. Well, imagine no longer! Here is one challenge we face – runaway bugs!
We try our best to secure our own, original images of insects for use in this blog, but occasionally this results in the photo’s subject getting away from us. My wife and I have sacrificed a porcelain casserole dish for “studio shots” of various creatures. Most can’t climb the slick surface, but now and then a spider or insect jumps or flies out. Then the question is how to get the runaway back without raising a fuss…
Have You Seen Me?
No amount of “Have you seen me?” posters in every room is going to help us find our “model” once it’s escaped, even if it is an adult insect. I understand you cannot even report one missing until it has been gone for a minimum of twenty-four hours. Juvenile insects are even worse. You have to do age progression drawings because metamorphosis changes them so drastically that they become unrecognizable after only a few weeks, sometimes a few days, making giving accurate descriptions of them rather difficult.
Things Your Spouse or Roommate Never Wants To Hear
Even the most tolerant of roommates and spouses would blow a gasket if their arachnologically-inclined (aka spider-loving) cohabitant suddenly asked “Have you seen my black widow?” This announcement is usually followed by “Hey, where is everybody going (at such a high rate of speed)?” The kid losing a gerbil warrants an eye-roll, but just one little venomous organism on the loose and you’d think it was grounds for a divorce.
I am fortunate. My wife hardly bats an eye whenever I confess to mishandling some bug that results in it suddenly roaming freely. On more than one occasion she has called over to me, “Hey, I found your (insert name of fugitive spider or insect here)!” There are also times when she assumes the critter on the counter is something that escaped captivity. If not, then we are both surprised, and not usually in a good way.
One word of advice to others like myself: It is w-a-a-a-y better to admit your negligence before she is confronted with the vagrant creature without prior knowledge of its escape. You know that skillet on the stovetop? Yeah? Ok, then you understand that it can be used against both you and the spider. The worst reception I ever received from my wife was when I enthusiastically related to her over the phone, “The lab guy we met the other day came over with a jar full of bed bugs….in all life stages! Hello?….”
The life of an entomological blogger is fraught with exactly these kinds of dilemmas. I just need to do that post on bed bugs, and that means I need images to go with it. I mean, they can’t climb out of the porcelain casserole dish….Can they?
About this Bug Blogger
If you like to read about bugs, you might already be acquainted with our Expert, Eric Eaton. He is principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America , and contributor to several other books including The Butterfly Gardener’s Guide and Wild in the City: a guide to Portland’s natural areas. Mr. Eaton studied entomology at Oregon State University, and has worked as a professional entomologist for “Butterfly Magic” at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Chase Studio, Inc., and the Cincinnati Zoo. He’s a volunteer expert and consultant to WhatsThatBug.com and Bugguide.net. Eric lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.