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Author: Jenn Forman Orth

Winter 2019 Meeting Feb. 2!

Winter 2019 Meeting Feb. 2!

The New England Entomological Society’s winter 2019 meeting is right around the corner!

Lilioceris lilii – red lily leaf beetle – Chrysomelidae

Join us, on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Westborough Public Library, located at 55 West Main St., Westborough, MA 01581.

Meeting itinerary:

  • 10am-11am: Officer’s Meeting (anyone is welcome)
  • 11am-12pm: General Meeting
  • 12pm: Announcements (feel free to announce any entomologically-themed meetings, bioblitzes, etc.)
  • 12:30pm-1:15pm: Lunch (bring your own – but we will also provide hearty snacks!)
  • 1:15pm-2:30pm: “Developing a Long-term Biological Control Program for Lily Leaf Beetle: From New England to Canada to Florida” a presentation by Lisa Tewskbury, University of Rhode Island
  • 2:30pm-3pm: Demo of, an online guide to Sphingid moths of the USA

Please RSVP here. We look forward to seeing you all at the meeting!

Spring/Summer NEES Activities

Spring/Summer NEES Activities

Here is a current list of events that NEES is either hosting or has members attending this spring and summer:

  • April 27-30: Boston, MA and Bangor and Portland, ME City Nature Challenge 2018
  • May 19: Carver, MA Myles Standish State Forest (Postponed due to weather, contact Teá Kesting-Handly for details)
  • June 16: Middlebury, VT Otter Creek Audubon Society Moth Night Presentation by NEES members Joanne Russo and Jennifer Murdoch, at the Ilsley Public Library, followed by blacklighting.
  • June (16-17): Marlborough, NH Visit NEES member Sam Jaffe at the day/night open house at The Caterpillar Lab
  • June 23: Athol, MA Dave Small’s Moth Ball (Mothing from 8pm til the sun comes up!)
  • July 7: Andover, MA Moth Night featuring a presentation by NEES Treasurer Deb Lievens (Contact Deb for details)
  • National Moth Week events!
    • Thornton, NH (Contact Deb Lievens for details)
    • July 21st and 28th: Block Island, RI. Email blockislander1(at)gmail.(dot)com for details.
    • July 29th: Springfield, VT, Hoyt’s Landing (public boat access). Registration required. THere is no charge to attend, but donations to the Black River Action Team to offset permit costs would be appreciated. Email blackrivercleanup(at)gmail(dot)com for details.
  • August 2-5: Ludlow, MA Dragonfly Society of the Americas Northeast Chapter Meeting
  • September (exact date and location TBD): Sunset Orthopteran Listening Tour

If you are looking for more information on any of these events, or have your own to add, email us or stop by our Facebook page.

Spring Meeting March 10th

Spring Meeting March 10th

The New England Entomological Society’s spring meeting is right around the corner!

Join us, on March 10, 2018 at the McAuliffe Branch of the Framingham Public Library, located at 746 Water St, Framingham, MA 01701.

Meeting itinerary:

  • 10am-11am: Officer’s Meeting (anyone is welcome)
  • 11am-12pm: General Meeting
  • 12pm-1pm: Lunch (bring your own – we will provide snacks!)
  • 1pm-2pm: “Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of Massachusetts” a presentation by NEES member Joshua S. Rose

A reminder that membership fees for the 2018 year are now due. These fees go toward the many field trips and bioblitzes planned for 2018. Membership rate info can be found here.

We look forward to seeing you all at the meeting!

Mark Your Calendars: Fall Meeting!

Mark Your Calendars: Fall Meeting!

It’s fall, and for those of us who love insects and other arthropods, that means sallow moths and plume moths, migrating monarchs, annoying non-native stink bugs and lady beetles migrating indoors, Arachtober, and the end of the growing season. But it also means it’s almost time for the NEES fall meeting! This year the meeting will be held Saturday, Nov. 18th 10am-3pm, at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main St, Athol, MA. We have a pretty amazing agenda planned, featuring a morning of presentations, followed by a lunchtime general meeting (with DOOR PRIZES! :-)) and then an afternoon id session. There is no charge to attend the meeting, but why not take the opportunity to become a member while you’re hanging out?

Meeting agenda:

  • 10am: Welcome from NEES President Teá Kesting-Handly
  • 10:15am: A presentation from Sam Jaffe of The Caterpillar Lab, “The Secret Lives of Caterpillars”
  • 11:15-11:30am: A quick break
  • 11:30am: A presentation from naturalist and author Charley Eiseman, “Life in a Leaf: The Wonderful World of Leafminers”
  • 12:30pm: General meeting and lunch (bring your own, or chip in for pizza)
  • 1:45-3:15pm: ID session (bring your too-challenging-to-id-yourself photos on your laptop/phone/flash drive!)

Charley will have copies of his book “Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates” available for sale (and signing), and Sam will be bringing some of his cool Caterpillar Lab stuff to sell.

We hope you’re as excited about this meeting as we are! Please let us know you’re coming by filling out this quick Google Form.

Celebrating National Moth Week

Celebrating National Moth Week

National Moth Week 2017National Moth Week is almost here! Held the third week of July each year, NMW is a great time to find local blacklighting events, or you could even host your own! NEES Treasurer Deb Lievens compiled this list of NMW events in the New England area:

  • July 22, 6:30pm, UNH Cooperative Extension is pairing with local moth enthusiasts Siobhan Basile and NEES Treasurer Deb Lievens for a family friendly event at the Burley Farm in Epping, NH (download flyer here).
  • July 22, 7:30pm, Mass Audubon, Moose Hill Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon, MA. NEES member Steven Whitebread will be presenting!
  • The Caterpillar Lab is hosting three caterpillar-themed daytime events:
    • July 22, 10am-4pm, Acton Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton, MA
    • July 24, 12pm-5pm, The Caterpillar Lab, 166 Emerald St., Keene, NH
    • July 26, 1:30pm-4:30pm, South Shore Nature Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell, MA
  • July 26, 7:30-9:30pm, The Nature Conservancy Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve, Route 41, Ossipee, NH. Register online at

There are also other insect-themed events planned during the week, including:

  • July 22, 9am-11:30am, Rumney, NH, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Quincy BogWalk the Quincy Bog trail with local naturalist John Williams and learn the fundamentals of how to observe, catch, identify and release these diverse insects. John will draw on his many years of work with the U.S. Forest Service and as a volunteer with the NH Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey. Seventy different damselflies and dragonflies have been documented in the town of Rumney! (Rain date 7/23)

Are you having a NMW event that we forgot to mention here? Drop us a line and we’ll update the page! You can also explore other events near you.

Myles Standish: Blacklighting and Bait Trail

Myles Standish: Blacklighting and Bait Trail

The club’s first nighttime event did not disappoint! Teá brought a huge bucket of moth bait and painted dozens of trees up and down a sandy trail. We also had two light setups in the nearby woods, one with a mercury vapor lamp and the other with 2 UV blacklights.

The bait trail really paid off, with 15 different moth species recorded. It also produced some great photos:

Moth slurps up bait
A red-winged sallow (Xystopeplus rufago) slurps up bait.

Pine false looper Zale (Zale duplicata), also slurping up bait
Pine false looper Zale (Zale duplicata), also slurping up bait

Unfortunately, it was super windy that night. That not only made securing the sheets a challenge, it made staying on the sheet a challenge for the moths that showed up. It also made a lot of my photos blurry, but I did manage to get a few good shots:

green-dusted Zale (Zale aeruginosa)
Green-dusted Zale (Zale aeruginosa) at the sheet

A celery looper (Anagrapha falcifera) on the sheet
A celery looper (Anagrapha falcifera) on the sheet

We’ve counted 18 species at the lights so far, not bad for April!

Of course, the night wasn’t all about moths…

A ginormous wolf spider (Hogna baltimoriana) showed up on the sheet towards the end of the night.
A ginormous wolf spider (Hogna baltimoriana) that showed up on the sheet towards the end of the night.

Shieldbacked Pine Seed Bug (Tetyra bipunctata), a new Mass. Bugguide record
Shieldbacked Pine Seed Bug (Tetyra bipunctata), a new Bugguide record for Mass.

We closed up shop around 1am. Teá made us remove the mega-huge wolf spider before she took down the sheet, so there was no chance it would end up in her car :-).

Spring Meeting of the New England Entomological Society

Spring Meeting of the New England Entomological Society

Eumorpha pandorus, photo by Teá Kesting-Handly
Eumorpha pandorus, photo by Teá Kesting-Handly

The New England Entomological Society will be holding its annual spring meeting this March 11, from 10am to 1pm at the Greater Worcester Land Trust offices in Worcester, MA. From 12-1 we will have a special presentation “Sphingidae of Massachusetts” by NEES president Teá Kesting-Handly. Learn about this unique group of moths from a local perspective, from a Massachusetts researcher who has been studying Sphinx moths from across the country. Teá’s presentation will cover the taxonomy and ecology of sphinx moths, highlighting their characteristics and behaviors. She will also explain how to id Sphingids to species and provide tips on how you can track down these amazing moths (and their caterpillars) in the wild.

Know anyone else who might be interested in attending? Feel free to share this blog post in newsletters or on social media. Both the entomological society meeting and the presentation are open to the public! You can also download our NEES Spring 2017 Meeting Flyer – if you’re a biology student or work with folks who might have an interest in joining us, we would be grateful if you would print it out and post it.

If you have any questions, or need more information, please contact NEES at