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 TeĆ” 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.

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