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Bug Banter Podcast Episodes

Mosquitoes Matter: Untangling Myths & Mastering Management

36 MinutesGuests: Aaron Anderson

It was Jimmie Durante who first came up with the rhyme, “spring is sprung, the grass is riz; I wonder where them boidies is?” Of course, spring also means the return of insects — bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and yes, mosquitoes — and here at the Xerces Society we start getting questions about what to do about these pesky critters. Does spraying help? Does spraying harm other insects? What are the alternatives and do they work?

Midnight Entomology: Unveiling the Secrets of Nocturnal Insects

37 MinutesGuests: Emily May

As humans, we often think of the world through the lens of daylight — when we are most active. But at night, an entire world of insects comes to life and we are missing out!

No Mow May: A Starting Point, Not the Finish Line

29 MinutesGuests: Matthew Shepherd

Tired of mowing your law? We have good news — you don’t have to, and the bees (and fritillary butterflies) will thank you for it! Mowing your lawn less frequently can provide habitat for pollinators, especially in early spring. But, is that enough? What can we do to turn No Mow May into meaningful conservation of pollinators and other wildlife? 

Floater, Sheepnose, and Cat’s Paw: Exploring the Fascinating World of Freshwater Mussels

41 MinutesGuests: Emilie Blevins, Jack Fetters

We are going underwater to highlight an invertebrate that isn’t an insect — the freshwater mussel. These animals may not be well-known but are powerhouses in our freshwater ecosystems, playing a critical role in our lakes and rivers. 

Buzzing Canopies: Forests' Vital Role in Supporting Pollinator Diversity

38 MinutesGuests: Kass Urban-Mead

For many of us, if we were asked to describe a place that is good for bees, we’d likely talk about somewhere that is open, sunny, and full of flowers — a garden, meadow, prairie, or hedgerow, maybe. The chances are that forests wouldn’t be high on that list. However, forests provide important resources for bees.

Bumbling Through Nature: Exploring the Fascinating Life History and Community Science of Bumble Bees

45 MinutesGuests: Rich Hatfield

Spend time in a garden and you’ll probably hear the buzzing of a bumble bee. These charismatic bees pollinate many of the foods and flowers that we love and, similar to other bees, their populations are in decline. Fortunately, there is a community science program to help us better understand the abundance and distribution of bumble bees across the US.

Life in the Dark: How Artificial Light is Impacting Insects

43 MinutesGuests: Dr. Avalon Owens

Light pollution. Go outside at night and you’ll notice it — lights on buildings, in gardens, along streets, glowing on the horizon. It might not seem like much, but this is changing the world for animals that rely on darkness. Imagine evolving for millions of years with only the stars and moon and now being faced with a landscape full of additional light. What happens to insects when the night is full of light? Can fireflies coexist in urban areas? Are there things we can do to reduce our impact?

The Magic of Fireflies: Flashing Lights, Glowing Worms, and Chemical Reactions

41 MinutesGuests: Richard Joyce

Fireflies. Just the word evokes for many people memories of summer evenings filled with magic and awe. From their flashy mating displays to their glowing larvae, these iconic insects have captured our hearts. Unfortunately, fireflies have started to disappear from the landscape. What is causing this decline and what can we do to help?

Surviving Winter: What Heat-Loving Butterflies Do During the Cold Months

40 MinutesGuests: Kevin Burls

We’ve previously talked about overwintering monarchs seeking refuge in warmer climates, but what do other butterflies do during the winter? Do they also migrate? Do all butterflies overwinter as adults? If so, where do they hide — in leaves or rock piles or up in the trees? If not, how do they survive — what do these warm-loving butterflies do during the winter? 

Nature's Original Transformers: The Amazing Beetles

35 MinutesGuests: Jennifer Hopwood

We are all familiar with beetles. If we look around our homes or neighborhoods, we’ll find them, but how familiar are we? What makes a beetle a beetle? How many different species are there? What role do they play in our world?  

Saving the Bees: Why Honey Bees Are Not the Answer

44 MinutesGuests: Rich Hatfield

No bee is as popular as the honey bee. When we think of a bee, many of us think of this charismatic social bee that lives in large colonies, does the wiggle dance, produces the honey we love, and pollinates many of our crops. Although honey bees can be found all over North America, they only arrived in the seventeenth century by way of European settlers. Aside from honey bees, in North America, thousands of native bees can be found on the landscape. We’ve all heard that bees are in decline. As a non-native species, are honey bees the answer to helping us “save the bees”? How do honey bees interact with our native bees on the landscape? 

A Monarch's Life: Migration, Survival, and Barfing Blue Jays

40 MinutesGuests: Ray Moranz

We've recently talked about western monarch populations and community science. Today, we are going to talk about monarchs east of the Rockies. From their overwintering sites to their multi-generational migration, and the stops along the way, we will take a deeper look at the journey of the monarch.

When a Bee is Considered a Fish: The Definitions and Complexities of Endangered Species

33 MinutesGuests: Sarina Jepsen

The word “endangered” is widely used when talking about rare animals in news reports, conservation campaigns, TV documentaries, and more. Sometimes being endangered is seen as a benefit, other times as a bad thing — but what does it mean? As with so many things, what lies behind the word “endangered” is more complicated than what meets the eye, and the word is not always used consistently, which can lead to confusion. Are honey bees endangered? No, there are millions of hives. Is the rusty patched bumble bee endangered? Yes, it is protected under the Endangered Species Act. What about the monarch butterfly? Probably, but not officially — and if they are protected, they may be classified as “threatened” — and is that at the federal or state level (or maybe internationally)? Are you confused yet? 

Potato Chips, Leaves, or Butterflies? The Art and Importance of Counting Western Monarchs

39 MinutesGuests: Isis Howard

There are not many insects as well-known, and as well-loved, as the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are characterized by their beautiful bright colors and their awe-inspiring migration. Unfortunately, monarch populations have been in decline for many years — but have you ever wondered how we know that? Tracking and estimating the population of any animal is tricky, even big ones like bears and eagles. How do you do it for an insect that moves across North America? 

Vanishing Wings: A Call to Action

41 MinutesGuests: Scott Black

Insects — who needs 'em? We do! We’ve all heard that insects are in decline. From bumble bees to monarch butterflies to fireflies, people are noticing fewer insects on the landscape. Should we be alarmed that invertebrates are disappearing from our planet? The answer is yes, and while this is the start of a grim tale, there is hope. In understanding the impact and cause of decline, collectively, we can change the outcome of the story. But we need your help.

Nesting in Darkness: Solitary Ground Nesting Bees

43 MinutesGuests: Leif Richardson

Have you heard of solitary ground-nesting bees? Yes? No? Either way, this podcast is for you! Unlike honey bees or bumble bees that live in colonies, solitary bees do it alone and interestingly, most of them nest underground. Although they are common, widespread, and almost certainly living in your neighborhood and at times literally under your feet, most people know very little about them.

Xerces - What?

9 Minutes

The word Xerces often confuses people. What does it mean and where does the name Xerces come from? Join us on this short podcast to introduce the organization that works to save insects and other invertebrates: the Xerces Society.