Join Missaukee Conservation District for Summer Bug Club, starting next week, to explore the wonderful world of bugs. Far from being the negatively portrayed “creepy crawlies,” insects are an interesting and important facet of our natural environment. From aquatic insect larvae (the life stage before adult) to the well-known & beautiful Monarch butterfly, insects can give us information about the habitat in which they live.
Scientists study and collect insects for what they call “biological indicators.” Certain insects require pristine environmental conditions and others can tolerate very polluted conditions. Insects are used as biological indicators very often in aquatic environments: lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Certain species can also be used in a laboratory setting in water quality and sediment tests. Pretty amazing, right?!
Other wildlife such as migratory birds, mountain lions, grey wolves, they sometimes receive the spotlight of a movie star. Protection of these species is very important, but so to is the protection of our smallest biological indicators–insects. They are often overlooked because they aren’t as glamorous as the Asian Tigers (those eyes!), or as cuddly as the Giant Panda. They are no less vital to environmental conservation. Monarch butterflies have become the face of insect conservation, and they are an excellent choice–smart, beautiful, with a little mystery, and recognizable (unless you mistake a Viceroy for a Monarch…) and plummeting populations. The Rusty Patch bumblebee is also beginning to share some of the minimal spotlight that is shed on insect species. Both are excellent symbols of the importance of conservation, but most insects get the “icky” reputation and companies have even been built on the destruction of their lives. Sure, not all insect species are decreasing in number, and not all of them should be on the threatened list. During bug club, we invite you to look past the stereotype, jump that first hurdle, and discover something new about those “creepy crawlies.” I’ll give you a first little morsel: spiders are not insects, and true bugs are just one of several orders of insects. That wasn’t a great morsel, but you’ll just have to join us to learn something more interesting!
Look for our flyer at the Ardis Library. Call our office to RSVP for these club events at least two days in advance, please: 231.839.7193. You can also visit us at 6180 W. Sanborn Rd. Lake City, explore the insects in our gardens and along our forested trail.