Big City Social Life

As urbanization spreads and city structures replace many social insect colonies’ natural habitats, these insects still manage to survive—and even thrive. The secret to their success? A fluid colony structure, which guards against big-city dangers. Here’s to social insect longevity!


How Staying Social Can Save You in Winter

Winter can be deadly for many of our insect friends, yet, rarely for honeybees. How do they survive winter’s perilously cold temperatures? By staying social!

Ant Questions Answered!

Over the last couple years, we’ve worked with outstanding K-12 educators on a number of projects, including Belly Button Biodiversity and School of Ants. We enjoy collaborating with teachers on curriculum modules, and then actually visiting students in classrooms when we can. Last week, Lauren Nichols, De Anna Beasley, and Mack Pridgen of Tar Heel Ants joined me on a visit to to the bustling second-grade classroom at the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina.

Prior to our visit, these curious students submitted some hard-hitting, dare I say philosophical, questions about ants and their biology: “How did ants exist before we did?” [...]

A Beetle Buffet

On Sunday evening, I was taking a stroll around my Raleigh neighborhood, enjoying the entomological sounds (Katydids! Crickets!) and sights (Fireflies!) of summer.

Along the walk, I noticed an occasional wood roach or two cross my path on the sidewalk. And then I rounded the corner. Oh boy, there were a lot of big roaches milling about. My eyes instinctively followed a few scurrying across the pavement towards a nearby white oak tree. Up the scaly bark, they climbed to an oozing wound on the tree’s trunk — and then my eyes beheld THIS:

When I told Dr. Eleanor about my observations, she came up with [...]

Going on a Cicada Hunt

Last Thursday, cicada expert Dr. Chris Simon dropped by the Daily Planet Theatre at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences to talk about periodical cicadas. She had been working nearby in Greensboro, North Carolina, mapping the distribution of the East Coast Brood of periodical cicadas (Brood II) at its western and southern edges.

As you read earlier in the month and probably gathered by our recent tweets, I’m a bit of a periodical cicada fan. I was so inspired by the images and sound clips Dr. Simon shared that I headed over to Greensboro the very next day to check out the emergence myself. It [...]

What do planthoppers and armpits have in common?

Did you know that today (May 22) is the International Day for Biological Diversity? To celebrate this holiday, we’re sharing a recent conversation we had with Dr. Julie Urban, our friend, collaborator and assistant director of the Genomics & Microbiology Lab at the Nature Research Center at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Julie studies the diversity of not one, but two of our favorite types of organisms: insects and bacteria!

I sat down with Julie right before she jetted off on a research trip to French Guiana. We chatted about her love for bacteria in strange places (ahem, armpits and belly buttons) and [...]

Time to Meet Your Mites!

May we scrape your face for SCIENCE?

I imagine this is not a question one generally expects to be asked when visiting his or her friendly neighborhood natural history museum.

And yet it’s one we’ve asked on a fairly regular basis during public outreach events over the last few months at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

You would be AMAZED (I know I have been) at the number of enthusiastic volunteers who have stepped right up to participate, curious to learn a something about the tiny organisms that call their pores home.

In January 2013, we launched Meet Your Mites, our latest public science [...]

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    So easy everyone can do it: How we’re like cave men and ants

So easy everyone can do it: How we’re like cave men and ants

**Today, we have a guest post from graduate student, Emily Meineke — Enjoy!**

There was a time when people weren’t so connected. It was a big deal 500 years ago to cross the Atlantic, much less the Pacific. Nowadays you could be in Japan in less than 24 hours with a martini in your hand.

Recently, there have been a lot of new stories about humans being more connected than ever before, but maybe the coolest I’ve heard—I’m an entomologist, get ready—is that being more connected makes us more like ants. The way that we connect to one another through Facebook looks a lot like how ants connect to one [...]

Up close and personal with E.O. Wilson

As you most likely read on the blog and noted by our steady stream of #eowilson tweets, the eminent biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson visited our Raleigh neighborhood last Thursday.

Prior to his official commitments leading a Global Town Hall with high school students and ceremoniously cutting the ribbon to open the new Citizen Science Center in the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Dr. Wilson toured the Earth Observation and Biodiversity Lab, our home away from our NC State home!

It was a thrill for the Your Wild Life [...]

Wild Life of Our Homes: Tanzania Style

What a fun surprise this afternoon to receive this tweet from our friend, Dr. Danielle Lee (DNLee):

You may recognize DNLee as the author of The Urban Scientist, a blog on the Scientific American Network where she writes about urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences. This summer, DNLee took her readers and followers into the field with her to TANZANIA.

There, she spent two and a half months trapping, marking, releasing, and [...]

By |September 21st, 2012|Explainer, Homes, Projects, Video|0 Comments|