Bug of the Week
University of Maryland entomology professor Michael Raupp noticed during the cicada mania of 2004 a remarkable desire on the part of regular people to know more about bugs.
With that in mind, he began "Bug of the Week," his Monday morning blog about, well, bugs.
"It is really kind of a blue collar approach," he said. "I simply get up in the morning, walk out of my front door and find a bug. If there is a silverfish in the bathtub, I photograph it and write about that.
"But what I am most likely to do is go into the garden or to a trail or a park. The focus is not on big showy, exotic bugs. Just the average-guy bugs."
Raupp follows the seasonal arch of bug-dom. He is writing about bees this week and last because they will begin to be active soon. Then he will probably begin talking about the Eastern tent caterpillar because you will begin to notice their nests as soon as the forsythia blooms.
He started with about 50 or 100 hits a week. Now he is up to 20,000 hits a month in the summer. It has become a part of many home-school science programs. He has a substantial archive of past bugs, too.
Raupp isn't into killing these bugs, as you might imagine. "Absolutely not."
But for the the particularly egregious ones, such as the yellow jacket, "I will tell you the environmentally responsible way to off those things."
Photo of boxwood aphid courtesy of Michael Raupp.