What a Warming World Means for Plants, Pests and Pollinators, webinar, June 18th

Photo: Courtesy of SERC

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
7 pm
Register here.

How will a hotter planet reshape the insect world? In the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) June evening webinar, join entomologist and author Michael Raupp for a look at the future of insects, both pests and pollinators. He will reveal how climate change is shifting weather patterns around the globe, and what that means for insects and mites in the mid-Atlantic. Learn how rising temperatures impact insect abundance, distributions, seasonal behaviors and the web of interactions among plants, herbivores and their natural enemies.

Michael Raupp

Professor Emeritus·University of Maryland

Mike is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. He has received more than a dozen international, national and regional awards for writing, scholarship and scientific outreach. Mike has appeared on major television and radio networks in this country and several abroad, and been featured in National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, Science Channel and PBS. He has appeared with luminaries including Jay Leno, Hoda Kotb and Robin Roberts. His “Bug of the Week” website,, and Youtube channel ( reach tens of thousands of viewers weekly in more than 200 countries around the world. His most recent book, “26 Things That Bug Me,” introduces youngsters to the wonders of insects and natural history, while “Managing Insect and Mites on Woody Plants” is a standard for the arboricultural industry.

Introduction to Insects, May 27th

Image: Courtesy of The Clifton Institute

Saturday, May 27, 2023
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Cost: $10 ($5 for Friends of the Clifton Institute)

Registration is REQUIRED.

The Clifton Institue
6712 Blantyre Road
Warrenton, Virginia 20187

Spend the afternoon with Education Associate Bridget Bradshaw learning about the bizarre and colorful world of our most diverse animal kin—the insects! The class will begin by covering basic insect biology and taxonomy at the peach house. The rest of the time will be spent catching and identifying insects from a smorgasbord of Clifton’s habitats like lush fields, leaf litter, and beaver ponds. Come ready to dig deep, get a bit dirty, and see eye to eye with the invertebrates who run the world. Please wear long pants and tall boots (like rain boots) and bring a water bottle! Nets, jars, and binoculars will be provided.


Crawl Into Fall With Bug Fest at Lewinsville Historic House – now on October 22nd

Photo: FMN Kate Luisa

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 (rain date due to Hurricane Ian)
10:00AM – 2:00PM

Lewinsville Park
1659 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, Virginia 22101

Click here for registration details.

Lewinsville Park is featuring Bug Fest on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Come celebrate all things bugs with a creepy-crawly adventure! This event is fun for the whole family Play games and activities including insect safaris, explore live insects, inspect insect collections, log rolling, soil stations, bug walks, critter talks, bug experiments, and make your own bug. Use technology to explore the world of insects. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.


“Restoring the Little Things that Run the World,” webinar with Doug Tallamy, September 25th

Photo: Doug Tallamy

Sunday, September 25, 2022
3 – 5pm
Fees: $10 + fees
Register here.

Doug Tallamy is an entomologist, ecologist and conservationist, a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and a successful author. Tallamy will deliver a talk for us titled, “Restoring the Little Things that Run the World.” A recent UN report predicts that as many as 1 million species will disappear from planet earth because of human activities. Many of these are insects and nearly all species at risk rely on insects. A world without insects will be a world without humans! So, how do we create beautiful landscapes brimming with life – landscapes that support the butterflies, caterpillars, bees, beetles and other insects that run the ecosystems we depend on? Tallamy will remind us of the essential roles insects play, and describe the simple changes we must make in our landscapes and our attitudes to keep insects on the ground, in the air and yes, on our plants.

A Planet Full of Insects and Spiders: Friends and Foes, August 6th

Photo: FMN Kate Luisa
Saturday, August 6, 2022

Izaak Walton League Chapter House, Leesburg
19237 Mountain Spring Lane
Leesburg, VA 20175 
+ Google Map

For more information and to register, click here.

Join Dr. Adamski, PhD, member of the Department of Entomology for the National Museum of Natural History, for his presentation on these most abundant of all animals. Learn why they are so successful in all types of environments. From camouflage, warning coloration, and mimicry to sound production, predation, cannibalism, and metamorphosis; all will be explained in family-friendly language.

Review of Never Home Alone, by Robb Dunn

Review by FMN Kristine Lansing

How much serious thought have you given to the mold in your bathroom, the spider in your stairwell, or the camel cricket bouncing around your basement? Have you ever found yourself wondering what else might be lurking within the four walls of your home, and whether it’s a good thing . . . or not?

As master naturalists, we spend so much of our time observing and interacting with nature “in the wild” that it’s easy to overlook the veritable universe that dwells right alongside us, indoors. In fact, “every house is a wilderness brimming with thousands of species of insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants.”* And it appears new species are being discovered all the time.

In 264 well-crafted pages, Dr. Robb Dun explores the intricate relationships and co-dependencies that some of our tiny lodgers have cultivated not only with us but with one another. Our first instinct may be to get rid of all intruders, but disturbing this delicate balance can occasionally be detrimental to us.

Rather than trying to artificially control the species that surround us, Dunn suggests that we instead “rewild” our homes “to let the wilderness back in, albeit . . . selectively.” Once “the most dangerous beasts” have been tamed, we will be better positioned to “find joy and wonder in the bacteria, fungi, and insects in our daily lives.” Joy? Wonder? After reading this fascinating book you’ll never see your home in quite the same light again!

Rob Dunn is a professor in the department of applied ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.

  • This and all subsequent quotes are from Never Home Alone, Robb Dunn, 2018, Basic Books.

Fairfax County Bug Bioblitz, Oct. 25-31st

Photo (c) by Barbara J. Saffir

Gear up for Halloween by looking for creepy crawlies in your neighborhood! Insects support whole ecosystems. Let’s celebrate them!

Insect populations are declining worldwide. Help us monitor our local insect and arachnid populations with this fun citizen science project.

Using iNaturalist, an app that can be downloaded to your Android or Apple phone, make and upload your observations between October 25th – October 31st, anywhere in Fairfax County. You can also join them for their public event on Saturday, October 26th from 10 am – noon at Lake Accotink Park.

More information on iNaturalist here.


Review of The Songs of Insects

Jerry Nissley

The Songs of Insects by Lang Elliott and Will Hershberger

On September 11, 2019, Friends of Dyke Marsh (FODM) hosted speaker Will Hershberger, co-author of The Songs of Insects (2007). The evening presentation was given in the visitor’s center at Huntley Meadows Park, followed by a night walk through Huntley Meadow’s woods and wetland to actually hear the calls, chirps, tics, and trills of the insects. Mr. Hershberger has been recording insect sounds for many years and has amassed a vast collection of insect images and recordings, first published in his book and now maintained on his fascinating website. He is an avid naturalist, award-winning nature photographer, nature sound recordist, and author. He and his wife, Donna, formed Nature Images and Sounds, LLC, and photograph a wide variety of animals in addition to insects. He is an entertaining public speaker as well.

The presentation explored the world of singing insects and explained how to distinguish individual species of crickets, katydids, and cicadas. I learned a lot about what we hear day and night during each season of the year. What I am hearing at night now, which I thought to be frogs, may well indeed be insects, especially the Snowy Tree Cricket, Davis’s Tree Cricket, and the Northern Mole Cricket. (See Hershberger’s Guide to Species.) You may be as amazed as I was.

My big take-away was something we perhaps all know but don’t think about all the time: Animal songs are seasonal and specific to one predominant purpose–mating. In general, the frog-calling season is late winter through spring, birds carry us through summer, and late summer (now) through early winter is insect time. The sounds we are hearing now are most likely insects. Each season carries some overlap, of course. Birds are the ones we hear most across all seasons but even their calls/songs change. Now is the time of the insects.

Seasonality explains why now I don’t hear frogs during the evening Mason Neck kayak tours, where earlier in the year I couldn’t talk over the frog ruckus. Now I hear the three-part harmony of crickets, katydids, and cicadas. Each sound interesting in its own right, which The Songs of Insects re-enforces beautifully.

Join Nature’s Notebook Pest Patrol citizen science work


Nature’s Notebook is seeking observers to report their sightings of insect pest species that cause harm to forest and agricultural trees. Your observations as part of this campaign will help validate and improve the USA-NPN’s Pheno Forecasts, which help managers know when these species are active and susceptible to treatment.


You can contribute by reporting observations of key pest species over the course of the year. The campaign focuses on 13 species that are considered to be insect pests.

Learn more about these species on the species profile pages and Pheno Forecast pages linked below. You’ll find a phenophase photo guide linked at the bottom of each species profile page to help you with identification of key life cycle events, such as active caterpillars and active adults. Each Pheno Forecast page shows maps of which locations have reached key life cycle event stages this year, and gives information on why managers care about that species.

Species Profile (overview of protocol) Phenophase Photo Guide (ID tips and photos of life cycle stages) Pheno Forecast (and why you should observe this species)
Leaf-feeding insects
Bagworm Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis Photo Guide  Forecast
Eastern tent caterpillar Malacosoma americanum Photo Guide  Forecast
Gypsy moth Lymantria dispar Photo Guide  Forecast
Winter moth Operophtera brumata Photo Guide  Forecast
Sap-feeding insects
Hemlock woolly adelgid Adelges tsugae Photo Guide Forecast
Magnolia scale Neolecanium cornuparvum Photo Guide Forecast
Pine needle scale Chionaspis pinifoliae Photo Guide Forecast
Spotted lanternfly* Lycorma delicatula Photo Guide There is currently no forecast available for this species, but your observations can help researchers to develop one!
Wood-feeding insects
Asian longhorned beetle* Anoplophora glabripennis Photo Guide  Forecast
Bronze birch borer Agrilus anxius Photo Guide  Forecast
Emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis Photo Guide  Forecast
Lilac (aka ash) borer Podosesia syringae Photo Guide  Forecast
Fruit-feeding insects
Apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella Photo Guide  Forecast

*If you see these species, please report them immediately to USDA APHIS via the reporting forms for Asian longhorned beetle and Spotted lanternfly


1. Select one (or more) species to track from the list of species. To see which species are available in your state, go to The Plants and Animals page, and filter for your state and Pest Patrol Campaign (under the Animal Types dropdown in the Advanced section).

2. Join Nature’s Notebook. If you haven’t already, create a Nature’s Notebook account. See our specifics of observing if you need more details on getting started.

3. Sign up to receive Pest Patrol messaging (in the right sidebar of this page – you may need to scroll back up to see it). You will receive information about how to identify species and phenophases, as well as results of your efforts. You will also receive notifications when your area is approaching the time to look for the activity of pest life cycle stages of interest.

4. Take observations. We invite you to look for pests approximately two to three times a week once you receive the message that your area is approaching the activity period. We encourage you to continue to observe your pest species until it is no longer active.

5. Report your observations. As you collect data during the season, log in to your Nature’s Notebook account and enter the observation data you recorded. You can also use our smartphone apps to submit your observations!

Butterflies and dragonflies at Walker Nature Center, July 18, 20, 25, 27

Butterfly Class: An Introduction

July 18
7:00-8:30 PM
Reston, VA Vernon Walker Nature Center
Butterfly count July 20

Discover the colorful and diverse lives of Reston’s “flying flowers.” Learn how to identify Reston’s common butterflies and get a basic introduction to their life history. This class is a great way to prepare for the Reston Butterfly Count.

Register by July 15. Free for participants in July 20 count, otherwise $5. (Click on Nature, then scroll down for Walker Nature Center and scroll to Wildlife Counts and Classes.)

Dragonfly Class: An Introduction

July 25
7:00-8:30 PM

Reston, VA Vernon Walker Nature Center
Dragonfly count July 27

Discover the fast and fascinating lives of Reston’s “flying dragons.” Learn basic identification, natural history and conservation of local dragonflies. Learn to identify Reston’s common dragonflies and get a basic introduction to their bizarre behavior and complex history.

Register by July 22. Free for participants in the July 27 count. (Click on Nature, then scroll down for Walker Nature Center and scroll to Wildlife Counts and Classes.)