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Bug’s Eye View Newsletter

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May 7, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about the Bug's Eye View newsletter. Hello, I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension Entomologist.

Blake, what exactly is the Bug's Eye newsletter? I understand it's something a lot of folks would be interested in.

Blake Layton: Well, Amy, this is a little weekly electronic newsletter that we do, and it simply consists of a single photo of an insect or maybe some other arthropod like a spider, and then three to five hundred words of information about that critter.

About half of the insects we feature are economically important, things that we might need to control, and if that's the case, we provide information on what to do about it. But there are also a lot of insects in the state that are just interesting, or unusual, or, "Hey, I've seen that before. I wish I knew more about it." And so we provide information on those, too, on that other half of the insects that we cover in this newsletter.

Amy Myers: Why is there a need for such a publication as this?

Blake Layton: Well, there are really two reasons there, because insects are very economically important in the state. We lose more than a billion dollars a year to insects just in Mississippi, and so they affect everybody's life. So we're interested in them because they affect our economy, but also we're also interested in insects as miniature wildlife. So a lot of us maybe can't go out in the woods every day and see wildlife, but you can in your back yard.

Amy Myers: Who might be interested in reading the Bug's Eye View newsletter?

Blake Layton: When we started this, I envisioned it being primarily a mechanism to inform county agents about upcoming insect issues, and then we found out that gardeners were interested in it. Many farmers and nurserymen were asking if they could be added. And then we've got other people like pest control professionals, and home owners were wanting to be involved in it. And then there's that other aspect of just insects as miniature wildlife, so a lot of naturalists are interested, teachers of science and biology classes, and then 4Hers, and high school students, and other students.

Amy Myers: So this is something that, if we have a question about a bug, or something in our yard or on our plants, we can go to. Can you give me some examples of previous articles?

Blake Layton: Some examples of some we've done: We did one on the red flour beetle. That's a little beetle that you might find in your oatmeal or Cheerios, a stored grain pest, stored food pest. One on cabbage root aphid, which is an unusual insect, but a very unusual life cycle. They spend their winter feeding underground on the roots of cabbages. They spend the summer feeding in galls they make on the leaves of cottonwood trees, so a little unusual there. And we have an article on eastern subterranean termites, and tells you want to do if you find termite swarmers in your house. One on springtails, which are tiny little insects, smaller than fleas, I say insects, they got kicked out of being insects a few years ago much like Pluto got kicked out of being a planet, so they're related to insects. And then crane flies are those big mosquito-like flies that people see early in the spring in such big numbers. We have an article about those. Crape myrtle bark scale is a new, invasive insect pest that's really causing a lot of problems on crape myrtle. So we did an article about that, how to identify it, what to do about it if you find it.

Amy Myers: Okay, and another example would azalea lace bugs?

Blake Layton: We have articles on azalea lace bugs, and what to do about those. We actually have an article that's entitled Just Flush the Toilet. That'll be in an upcoming newsletter, and I won't say any more about that, but it's just a little teaser. You can learn more about it if you subscribe to this newsletter. And then we've got some on black widow spiders, chiggers or red bugs, cat fleas, cecropia moth caterpillars. That's one of our big silk worm moths, and a critter called a land planarian, which is a non-native, non-insect pest, but it preys on earthworms, an interesting critter that you might encounter in your back yard occasionally.

Amy Myers: Okay. Yeah, we really don't want anything affecting our earthworms, because those are actually really good for our soil.

So how can one subscribe to the Bug's Eye View newsletter?

Blake Layton: And you've asked that correctly. I can't sign somebody up. You have to go sign yourself up online. So what you do is you go to our Extension website, In the black bar up at the top, you'll see Newsletters. Click on Newsletters, and then click on Bug's Eye View. There'll be a little button there that says subscribe. Then it'll ask you to provide your name and email address, and then the trick is at the bottom there's another button that says: Now add me to the list, or subscribe. You have to click that.

If you can't remember all that, you can do a Google search for Bug's Eye View at MSU, or Bug's Eye View at Mississippi State University, and you'll find it that way.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Dr. Blake Layton, Entomologist. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.


Department: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology

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