What do cicadas and people have in common? Both are re-emerging and reuniting this summer.
Inspired by the return of Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood of periodical cicadas, the People’s University at the Ohio County Public Library will offer an eight-class summer series on entomology (insect biology) called “PU Livestream: Bugs and People.”
The series will feature some of the best entomologists and experts from all over North America to teach attendees about the six major insect orders, as well as the history of human and insect interaction, a subject known as cultural entomology.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions still affecting in-person library gatherings, the series will remain an online livestream via the People’s University Facebook page, which facilitates the nationwide, prestigious faculty.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about insects while becoming eligible to win various insect-related prizes through interaction with the instructors. Check the library’s website at ohiocountylibrary.org for more information in the coming weeks.
The classes will be held on Thursdays at 6:30 pm, beginning on May 27. Check out the full schedule of classes and faculty for this series:
This class will focus exclusively on the 17-year, periodical cicadas known as Brood X or the Great Easter Brood, and their unique life cycle and history. Brood X is due to return this summer and a small colony exists in Wheeling.
An exploration of the evolution of insects, from their origins with crabs and brine shrimp, to giant insects during the Carboniferous, to modern insects and their relatives. Students will take a quick tour of arthropods, including spiders, mites, millipedes, and the “basal” insect orders like mayflies and dragonflies. The class will also cover locust plagues, plant mimicry, and the predators that hunt using cricket chirps.
Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Rowen, Service Assistant Professor of Entomology at WVU
This engaging and colorful overview of beetles will cover their distinctive physical features, biology, and natural history. Students will also explore beetles in light of their coevolution with plants and other organisms, as well as the complex history of beetle and human interactions.
Instructor: Dr. Art Evans, entomologist and educator
With more than 150,000 species of sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants, Hymenoptera is one of the largest and most interesting orders of insects. This class will examine the vital contributions of threatened species like the honeybee to human survival, as well as some of the dangers presented by other species within Hymenoptera.
Instructor: Dr. W. Franklin Evans, president of West Liberty University
Insects influence our lives in innumerable positive ways, such as pollination, decomposition of organic matter, and food chain links for other animals. Insects can also be dangerous and even deadly to humans. This has been brought to the forefront with the spread of the Zika and West Nile viruses by mosquitoes. Dr. Strand will talk about the diverse and fascinating biology of insects in the order Diptera, which are commonly referred to as flies. While some flies like mosquitoes can adversely affect humans, many others are beneficial to our planet.
Instructor: Dr. Michael R. Strand, entomologist and H.M. Pullman Chair at the University of Georgia
Lepidopterans, moths, and butterflies are some of the best-loved and most charismatic insects on the planet. Butterflies capture the imagination of people from all over the world, which makes them excellent candidates for engaging citizen scientists and casual observers. This talk will provide a basic overview of butterflies and moths, will touch on the epic monarch migration, and will provide information on ways anyone can get involved in current butterfly science.
Instructor: Kathryn Hokamp, Lepidopterist at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
The final class in this summer series, students will examine the cultural influence of insects. From arts and literature to inventions and medicine, insects are vital to our human survival and the human experience.
Instructor: Eric R Eaton, author and entomologist
About People’s University
The People’s University is a free program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts. It features courses taught by experts in each subject that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, philosophy, and science. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. For more information about PU Livestream, Bugs and People, visit ohiocountylibrary.org or call the library at 304-232-0244.