I Dream of Weevils Part 2!

IMG_4979Randa here! I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts from my group this summer. It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally back to add my 2 cents. A few weeks ago, Jemma shared her weevil dreams with you all. I asked her to title it “Part 1” because I knew I had more to add on this topic. I’ve dreamt of my work for as long as I can remember. The different stages of my academic career are defined by whether Collembola were floating by when I closed my eyelids or whether it was squirming Colorado Potato Beetle. So, it came as no surprise when my interns shyly mentioned that they’d been dreaming of alfalfa weevil. Continue reading

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How Important is Honeydew?

ant1Allison speaking. The relationship between aphids and parasitoid wasps has been of a lot of interest to us here, as the wasps that kill weevils by using them as hosts for their young to eat (from the inside out!) may benefit from having aphids around for the honeydew they provide. It can be an important sugary food source to many bees, ants and wasps in the order Hymenoptera. Another hypothesis we have is that flower nectar may also play an important role in a parasitic wasp’s diet. But how important to successful weevil parasitism is wasp nutrition? Would the size of aphid populations have any effect on the size of weevil populations through this indirect relationship?

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I Dream of Weevils Part 1

weevil handJemma here! So picture this. You’ve just started a summer internship and everything is going well. You get back from a long day of collecting and looking through samples of insects and the only thing on your mind is sweet, blissful sleep. So you start to wind down, maybe watch an episode or two of your favorite show on Netflix, jump in the shower, throw on some comfy pajamas, brush your teeth and then you finally get into bed. Now that you finally have the chance to relax you start to give in to the welcoming arms of sleep and close your eyes……..and all you see are weevils! Your eyelids become the backdrop to a sea of green worm like creatures wiggling around in your mind and despite your best efforts you can’t find the pause button to this haunting showing of insects.

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Hotel Room Science

A view of Heart Mountain from an alfalfa field in Powell, Wyoming.

After 6.5 hours driving the desolate highways of Wyoming, zig-zagging through dramatically changing landscapes, passing what seems like hundreds of semi-trucks, and persevering through the limited number of rest stops along the way, we finally pull into tourist laden Cody, Wyoming. Albeit beautiful, this time of year Cody is a widely sought after destination for cross-country road trips and a reasonable stop for families visiting Yellowstone National Park. As we begin to unload our field gear into our hotel room, smiling and saying hello to our hotel neighbors, I think to myself- the experience we are about to have in the Big Horn Basin is wildly different than that of all the traveling families sharing this hotel roof. Continue reading