Dr. Tim's Spineless Wonders

Dr. Tim's Spineless Wonders


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Uninvited Stink Bugs in the Home – Dispatch Satisfaction

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Some time ago I wrote a Spineless Wonders column about the invasion of stink bugs – specifically, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). I described what this particular stink bug looks and smells like, where it originated from, its current American distribution as well as when and why it is attracted to and gets…

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Plague of Locusts – or Whatever They Are Called

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Dear Dr. Tim, What’s up with all the locusts, or whatever you call the “hoppy” insects that are all over our neighborhood. Is this the start of a plague? They look like normal grasshoppers to me except that they are everywhere. Can you explain this and will we have them again next year? Signed Moses…

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Hover Fly vs. Homeowner – Conflict Mediation

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

As an entomologist, I find that it often falls on me to serve as a sort of de facto mediator in ongoing or potential insect/human conflicts. My role is to facilitate understanding and communication between both parties with a view to helping them reach a mutually amicable resolution. As a mediator I sift through the…

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Japanese ‘Beetlemania’ Continues

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Beatlemania was often used to describe the frenzy, excessive enthusiasm, obsession and fascination directed at a British pop group, the Beatles, when they first arrived in America. Their introduction elicited hysterical screaming by fans whenever the Beatles landed at an airport or appeared in public. Beatlemania of a different kind accompanies Japanese beetles each year…

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Flies in a home are a complicated issue

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Dear Dr. Tim, I have a simple question. Can you tell me how to get those pesky flies out of my home? You know the ones I am talking about – those obnoxious black ones, the ones that really annoy you. Thanks for your help. Ann Oyd (aka annoyed) People seldom appreciate what it takes…

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Flowers, Pollinators, and the Ripple Effect

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Most people understand that nothing in nature exists in isolation. All nature is connected. Any change in one component affects others, causing more changes and alterations that impact still other components down the line and so on. It is called the ripple effect. Everything is nature is interconnected and interdependent. Local weather conditions affect the…

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Tick Talk Time

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Black-legged tick life stages. From left: adult female, adult male, nymph, larva.Photo credits: Lee Green, Medical Entomologist, Indiana State Department of Health It is tick talk time, but when I say “tick talk” I am not referring to a timekeeping device, such as a watch or a clock. I am simply pointing out that spring…

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Insects as Pets: Consider the Advantages

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Pets are part of the family for nearly 62% of Americans. According to a recent pet census, a whopping 69.9 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States. And get this: There are even more cats – 74.1 million of them. That seems like a lot of dogs and cats.  U.S. pet ownership…

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Insect Biomimicry and Why I love Spider-Man

Friday, March 1st, 2019

You might think it strange to see a small kid, all by himself, dressed in red and black, lurking in random corners of the home. He crouches, motionless, silent, ever-watching for a chance to spring upon some unsuspecting passerby. This might freak out other people, but for me it is a welcome sight. It is…

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Valentine’s Day Strategies – Tips I have learned from insects

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Valentine’s Day is nearly here so, as an alert to all guys out there who have significant others and want to keep them, do not forget February 14th.  It is pretty important to your relationship, and flubbing this one is akin to forgetting her birthday or wondering why she is not home and suddenly remembering…

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Insects May Be Smiling on the Inside

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

As a fourth-grader I drew my first real insect in art class. I think it was a pretty good rendering. It was anatomically correct for the most part, right up until the very end when, as children often do, I planted a big ole smiley face on the head, two dots for eyes, a circle…

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Plan to Run from Killer Bees

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

This spring, for the second time since 2005, A.J. Foyt was attacked by Africanized, killer bees. Known to millions of fans simply as A.J., the American race car driving legend won a staggering number of races in several types of cars. He is one of three (Rick Mears and Al Unser) drivers to win the…

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Monarch Majesty and Mimicry

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

When going to work each morning, my son-in-law dons nicely pressed khaki pants, a collared shirt and polished shoes. He even combs and wears mousse in his hair. He carries his cellphone on a clip on his belt next to his keys for all to see. His name and the company he works for are…

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Along Came a Spider . . . Web

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Spiders are at once one of the most feared — yet beneficial and misunderstood — and studied animal in the world. Legend suggests that the mere sighting of a spider brings good luck for the day, and many cultures adhere to the myth that killing a spider will bring seriously bad luck. Not only are spiders…

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Why Did the Woolly Bear Cross the Road?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Dear Dr. Tim: Have you noticed the hairy caterpillars crossing paved roads recently? What are they, where did they come from and why are they crossing the roads? Isn’t that a dumb thing to do? Don’t they know they could be run over? Concerned Driver. Dear Concerned Driver: If you are driving right now, I…

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Moles, myths and misconceptions

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Occasionally I am asked to speak at landscape management meetings about moles – you know, the furry little animals that tunnel just below ground and make such a mess of a lawn. I don’t know why they ask me, an insect scientist, to speak about moles? I assume it is because it just dawned on…

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Mosquito Bait

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

I like to go for leisurely walks with my wife. It is romantic and we get to exercise and enjoy nature together. I like it when we are able to use this time to talk. She says communication in a marriage is important. I agree. During spring and summer – when mosquitoes are out —…

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Lightning Beetles — Light Up My Life

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Possibly the most romantic insect in the world is known for the pulses of soft, amorous light it emits in parks, backyards and roadsides on warm spring and summer evenings. First, the male flashes its seductive light in a quick Morse love code-like signal while hovering a few feet above the ground. Then, the female…

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What Is all the Stink About?

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Dear Dr. Tim, A brown-colored, disgusting looking bug appeared out of nowhere in my home. It landed on a magazine I was reading. I don’t care much for bugs – most of them creep me out – so, I sent my husband to throw it outside. That was a mistake. Wow did that thing ever…

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