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Fall 2019 meeting summary

Fall 2019 meeting summary

  1. We will be collecting dues for 2020. Dues are $20, or $10 for students or $15 for seniors over 65 (ID required for discounted dues).
  2. Society President Teá Kesting-Handly requested feedback regarding events such as the Moth Ball, and the Zoo Moth Night; Some feedback included a request that events have lodging either at the event site or a recommended nearby hotel, for members traveling a long distance; likewise, there was a request for remote attendance capability. Another request was for the species lists generated by the events to be made available to the members. This is already happening. The board will provide links to these lists in future communications to make access easier. Here is the link to the species lists from the 5 years of Zoo Moth Night events.
  3. Josh Rose announced an event to happen next year, hosted by the Dragonfly Society of America, time and location as yet undecided, likely southern Vermont in March. This event has the unbeatable name of NymphFest, and will be an opportunity for those who collect odonate exuvia to have their specimens identified.
  4. Mark Mello of the Lloyd Center for the Environment in Dartmouth, Mass, suggested that the Center could host an event, and provide on-site camping, depending on the status of ongoing renovations.
  5. Courtney Mclaughlin and Sara Burrell of the Caterpillar Lab in Marlborough New Hampshire announced that the Lab has free open hours on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12-5 through the winter, and would be a good place for a NEES field trip.
  6. There was a request to the members for information about the usefulness of LED insect-attracting lights; Treasurer Deb Lievens said she had tried one type and they didn’t do well in a side by side comparison with compact fluorescent lights. Perhaps more trials are needed.
  7. There was a request for information about Central American odonates. It was remarked that Dennis Paulson and William Haber may be working on this–a paper field guide is not likely at this time.
  8. There was an idea proposed to have a field event on the topic of nocturnal insect song. There may be existing events of this type that NEES should promote for its members.
  9. There was an announcement of a Joint Field day for the Entomological Societies of Cambridge, Vermont, and Maine, on Appledore Island, on Isles of Shoals at the Shoals Marine Laboratory. According to the MES website this will take place on Saturday July 20th and space will be very limited.
  10. Avalon C.S. Owens, Switzer Environmental Fellow at Tufts University presented her paper “Light Pollution Is a Driver of Insect Declines.” Owens demonstrated that among the purported causes of the “insect apocalypse,” climate change and pesticides are the most discussed, but light pollution (or artificial light at night, or ALAN) is also very significant. Owens laid out 5 main categories of harm that ALAN causes insects (temporal disorientation, spacial disorientation, phototaxis, desensitization, and recognition) with effects as wide-ranging as disruptions to mating and host plant identification, as well as artificial increases in predation. Owens reminded the disproportionately lepidoptera-focused members of our group that our moth lights may have negative effects on the insects drawn to them. Fortunately, as the abstract states, “ALAN is unique among anthropogenic habitat disturbances in that it is fairly easy to ameliorate, and leaves behind no residual effects.” The solution is for humans to gain a greater tolerance for the night.
  11. Linnea Meier of the USDA Otis Lab in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts gave a presentation called “Chemical Ecology of the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). This relatively new invasive species was brought to Pennsylvania on a shipment of crushed stone, of all things, and has been gradually spreading from there. The insect has broad tastes and can be a harmful pest of fruit orchards and vineyards. Meier and her lab are working on finding chemicals to attract the lanternflies into traps. Methyl Salicylate (wintergreen odor) works well, but will not draw them away from their aggregations on host trees. The lab has produced behavioral evidence that SLF (the industry shorthand for the bugs) do orient toward sex pheromones. How? Through Electroantennagraphic Detection (EAD)–electrodes are introduced into the severed head and the end of its severed antenna, and the volatiles being tested are wafted across, producing graphs of response. This ingenious apparatus is on the front lines of the defense against the dangerous SLF.

Checklist for Tomorrow’s Meeting

Checklist for Tomorrow’s Meeting

NEES Fall Meeting Checklist!

1. Starts 9:AM at UMass Boston in the Wheatley Hall Conference Room
2.If you are coming by public transit, be aware of weekend buses replacing red line service; Once at the JFK/UMass station, take the free #1 shuttle to the campus center
3. If you are coming by car, park in the West Garage, KEEP YOUR TICKET, and we will reimburse the cost of parking
4. We have 2 speakers lined up, Avalon Owens on the effect of light pollution on insects and Linnea Meier on the chemical ecology of the spotted lanternfly
5. Bring your own lunch, and enjoy the snacks that the executive board is providing!
6. Stay after lunch for a tour of the UMass Boston Entomology Lab
7. You are invited to bring specimens for identification!

Second Speaker added

Second Speaker added

We have confirmed a second speaker for our Fall Meeting! NEES is happy to welcome Linnea Meier, an Insect Chemical Ecologist and Postdoctoral Researcher for USDA-APHIS-PPQ, working out of the Otis Lab.

Her talk will be “Chemical Ecology of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula),” a very interesting topic, considering the concern this interest is stirring among the general public, as well as those of us who like all things insect.

And remember that our other speaker will be Avalon Owens, on the subject of the impact of artificial light at night on insect declines and on insectivore predation.

The Fall Meeting is Saturday, November 16th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Umass Boston.

First Speaker Announced!

First Speaker Announced!

We are excited to announce that we have booked a great speaker for our fall meeting! Avalon is also the current President of the Cambridge Entomological Club, so we are lucky to have “stolen” her for the afternoon!

Light pollution as a driver of insect declines

Is light pollution an important—but overlooked—bringer of the insect apocalypse? Join us for a presentation by Avalon Owens, Ph.D. candidate and a Switzer Environmental Fellow at Tufts University, about the impact of artificial light at night (ALAN) on insect declines through its interference with the development, movement, foraging, and reproductive success of diverse insect taxa, as well as its positive effect on insectivore predation. ALAN is unique among anthropogenic habitat disturbances in that it is fairly easy to ameliorate, and leaves behind no residual effects. Greater recognition of the ways in which ALAN affects insects can help conservationists reduce or eliminate one of the major drivers of insect declines. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how artificial lights can be tuned to reduce their impact on vulnerable populations.

Fall Meeting Survey

Fall Meeting Survey


Hello everyone! The fall 2019 meeting of the Society will take place at UMass Boston on Saturday November 16th, from approximately 9 am to 3 pm. Please fill out the following survey, whether you plan to go to the fall meeting or not (or if you are on the fence). It will help us immeasurably as we plan the meeting. Thank you!

Fall Meeting Survey

Moths in the Zoo!

Moths in the Zoo!

NEES in coordination with the Zoo New England Conservation department will be hosting a moth night inside the Franklin Park Zoo!  The event will take place Saturday July 27th, beginning around 9 pm. Some of us will be arriving a little earlier to set up the lights and sheets, of course.  The event is part of the Franklin Park Biodiversity Project, an effort to identify and to some extent quantify the living things within Boston’s largest city park. This is a free event, but it does require registration. Just head over to this link and sign up.

Moth Ball 2019

Moth Ball 2019

Saturday, June 22, 9 p.m. – late night
Annual Moth Ball

Join Athol Bird and Nature Club president Dave Small and naturalist Lula Field at Dave and Shelley’s house, 1542 Pleasant St., Athol, Massachusetts to search for Lunas, underwings, silk moths and other night flying insects. Participants are invited to bring their tents, snacks to share and favorite moth baits. (Don’t know what those are? You’ll find out!)

For more information email dave@dhsmall.net.

2019 Winter meeting notes

2019 Winter meeting notes

 

  1. This Organization is looking for a Secretary.
  2. This year NEES is planning to have one trip and one fall meeting in 2019.
  3. Membership dues will be free for 2019.
  4. A call went out for speakers for the fall meeting.
  5. Sam Jaffe’s caterpillar lab has a position open for a manager of educational programs; The lab is working on a variety of different projects in a new location in Marlborough NH.
  6. Mark Mello announced that a Concord (Massachusetts) BioBlitz is happening on the fourth of July 2019.
  7. Claire O’Neill offered an inspiring presentation about her organization Earthwise Aware, whose mission is “Empowering individuals and organizations to make earthwise choices in their Nature & Wildlife endeavors.” She emphasized the need for science and conservation organizations to reach teenagers and others (not just children and interested adults).
  8. Marie Studer of Encyclopedia of Life spoke about the City Nature Challenge and the need for qualified naturalists to help identify the observations gathered. There was a vigorous discussion about using the iNaturalist app and how to obtain the best images of animals for identification.
  9. Jef Taylor of Zoo New England announced that Franklin Park Zoo will be hosting an exhibit of giant animatronic arthropods for the summer, and is actively looking for entomologist/educators to coordinate with the zoo’s Education department on programming. There is also the possibility that the zoo could host a summer meeting of NEES.
  10. Dave Small of the Athol Bird and Nature Club is hosting his annual Moth Ball event the night of June 22. The club will also be hosting a dragonfly event in early June.
  11. Charley Eisemann spoke about his work on leaf miners, being released serially as pdfs. He anticipates to complete in June, to coincide with a seminar he is running at Eagle Hill Institute.
  12. David Gregg of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey announced the 20th annual RI Bioblitz will occur 5/31/19-6/1/19, some overnight camping spots are available.
  13. After the break it was announced that Jef Taylor had volunteered to join the NEES Board as Secretary.
  14. Featured Speaker Lisa Tewksbury of the University of Rhode Island’s Biological Control Lab spoke about efforts to provide a biological control agent for the invasive Lily Leaf Beetle. Many parasitoid wasp candidates were evaluated and tested, to see how effective they were against the target insect, and to see if they might affect related non-target insects. Releases began in 1996 in Boston and have continued in Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut and Canada.
  15. NEES president Teá Kesting-Handly walked us through her massive project to create a comprehensive website about Sphinx moths found in the United States: sphingidae.us  The site include photos and descriptions of all the Sphingid moths in the US, as well as indices of their host plants, and parasitoids and predators. 
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.

Middlebury, VT Moth Week Event

Middlebury, VT Moth Week Event

In Middlebury, VT we held our second annual moth night as part of National Moth Week on Saturday 7/29. The event is sponsored by the Otter Creek Audubon Society (Birding by day, mothing by night?) 32 people gathered in the meeting room of our local library to hear two speakers: JoAnne Russo of south eastern VT, a veteran moth-er (10 years) who has a special interest in VT Moths and is helping to compile a state list that will soon be published and Jennifer Murdoch of Middlebury who has only been on the dark side for 2 full seasons.
JoAnne shared a broad spectrum of knowledge of the characteristics of moths, the families, and online resources etc….  Jennifer focused on how her interest this year has expanded to include rearing caterpillars and shared photos of moths she had seen in the last 30 days as a sort of preview of what might be seen on the sheet later. Caterpillars and pupae were passed around…the Cecropia taking the spotlight.
Participants were invited to two viewing stations set up a couple hundred yards apart. The night was initially breezy and then cool, fewer than 30 species showed up on the sheets. Spirits were not dampened in the least and there was much excitement over every new arrival and talk of cameras and lighting equipment. The younger crowd enjoyed looking for caterpillars with the blacklight flashlight and we found out that snails glow neon blue! I think we have some new enthusiasts!