Day of Insects

On last Saturday we attended the 8th Annual Day of Insects at Reiman Gardens in Ames, IA. As usual it was a great gathering of people who admire and value  insects. Some study them. Others photograph or write about them. Others manage properties where insects are studied and photographed. And still others encourage the general public to value and support pollinators. It is always a place to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and make new ones.

There were several presentations about Monarch butterflies and efforts to provide more habitat and appropriate plants for the larva and the adults. One of the projects had a screen cage full of Monarch butterflies for people to enjoy. There were times when there were several with the proboscises in the sliced green grapes on the plate in the lower right. Photographing through the screen mesh cage modifies the colors slightly even while the image is sharp.

This image was made with our “pocket camera” – a Canon Powershot that does make raw files. The light at the top of the cage was rather harsh. Having a raw file that was able to be processed to reduce the glare is one of the many advantages to making raw captures.

The variety of presentations is always fun and informative and sometimes even poignant, as in the case of Lulu Berry who was an expert on raising moths early in the 20th century. Three insects that convert other insects into zombies were met with gasps and giggles. Moths that overwinter as adults under the snow were surprisingly attractive. College students contributed a study comparing bees, butterflies and ground beetles in remnant and planted prairies. A report on a searchable database of the 2156 species of moths in Iowa encouraged people to submit more records. These are just a few of the 15 presentations.

Now we wonder what Nathan and MJ will plan for next year’s Day of Insects.

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