Episode 26: Super bugs pt. 1

As we promised on Twitter, we have an exciting two parter combining our love for bugs with our love for super heroes. We were joined by Nancy again who you may remember from our ghost episode and Nicole who made an appearance talking about her job quite a while back!

Welcome to the podcast where we will teach you all about bug themed superheroes that, while mostly bug themed in name alone, have a few real buggy powers…very few, unfortunately.

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In case you’ve never seen them before, we wanted to include some photos of the heroes we talked about in this half of the episode!

Spiderman:

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Spiderman (Miles):

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Spiderwoman:

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Silk:

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*and obviously I think they’re the most funny when they’re kicking OG Spiderman’s butt!

Black widow:

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Antman:

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Wasp:

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Yellow jacket (photo from Ant-Man the movie):

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Bumble bee:

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Mantis:

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AREN’T THEY COOL? Even if they don’t always have scientifically accurate bug powers 🙂

Other topics we talked about: Immortal Jellyfish (I was right!) and the peacock spider* mating dance!

*note: peacock spider link leads to a clip from a documentary that does show spider mating! Interesting and terrifying!

And for more spiderman fun, check out this teaser trailer!!!! I regularly get overly excited about superhero movies, but I am so unbelievably JAZZED about this movie! Miles Morales does not get the attention he deserves, but he’s going to get it soon! So, get ready and excited!

 

Please rate us on Apple podcast and leave us a comment!

We love you. We’ll see you. Goodbye!

Episode…Wait

We are taking a break this week from episodes because of the holiday, but we will be back on the 12th with a fun episode and some great guests. We hope you had an amazing thanksgiving if you are in the U.S. and if not a great weekend! Keep an eye out for our episode in two weeks!

Before we go we want to give you one interesting bug fact. Did you know that earthworms in the U.S. are not native? They are invasive species that came over with European settlers and even though they may be helpful for your gardens, they wreak havoc on our forests.

They are detrimental to forests because they are too good at decomposing leaf litter. Our native trees and wildflowers are not adapted to a lack of leaf litter that forms the top organic layer of soil. The organic layer provides an important nutrients and habitat for beetles, snails, mites, and other critters. It also provides a place for seedlings to grow and survive. When earthworms are present they remove this layers and this causes issues up and down the food chain.

Overall, earthworms are not the great creatures that we often associate with healthy plant growth, but rather, are harming our forests. This fact surprised me when I first learned it, so I thought I would pass it on to you. We need future forest soil community ecologists to learn how to control earthworms in order to improve our forests!

Do you have any interesting bug facts?

 

Episode 25: Thankful for Bugs

What bugs are you thankful for? I bet you’ve never had to answer that question. Today we’re bringing you a shorter episode about bugs we’re thankful for in the spirit of Thanksgiving. We talk about ecosystem services and a bunch about potatoes. We also have an update for you about the zombie ants. New research says they may not so much be zombies but rather cyborgs! Listen to find out more.

As always feel free to rate us on Apple podcasts and enjoy the show!

Episode 24: Moldy Ghosts

Happy Halloween everyone! The Holiday that kicks off the holiday season! (Cari is very excited because Christmas is swiftly approaching and it’s her favorite). Today we have a special episode for you about mold and ghosts. It’s a little different from our normal discussion about bugs…and stuff, but we hope you enjoy it! We had a great time recording with our friend, Nancy. She is a women in STEM just like us with a degree in cyber security engineering, but she also has an interest in the paranormal. Nancy also happens to do AMAZING cosplay! Check out her Instagram  @spacequeencosplay! She’s involved in graphic design as well, if you need something made! She made our anniversary banner and we still love it so much!

Anyway, thank you for joining us for this Halloween episode. We hope you have a safe and happy Halloween! Now on to the episode.

We love you, we’ll see you, goodbye!

Episode 23: Zombies!

…well we’re not talking about normal zombies. For our first episode as a one year old podcast (and for halloween), we are talking about insects and how their relationships with parasitic organisms turn them into zombies.

Most notably, we talk about the cordyceps fungus that highjacks the ants and other insects forcing them to climb into the canopy where their last deed is to clamp their mouthparts tightly onto a leaf or branch. It is there that they finally die and the fruiting body of the fungus bursts from their head. This fungus then releases its spores into the forest to infect the next unsuspecting vicim.

After this, we move on to some other crazy parasites that take over their hosts brain to make them into bodyguards, lure them into their lair, and generally make it easier for the parasite to reproduce and create more zombies. There won’t be much mindless moaning or the usual brain eating, but these stories are still amazing and pretty creepy.

Additionally, if you are looking for an interesting halloween read involving zombies definitely check out The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Also stay tuned for halloween where we will be releasing another episode dedicated to things that go bump in the night!

Happy October and one year anniversary of Bugs & Stuff podcast. We hope you have enjoyed hearing us talk about the science we love.

 

Episode 22: Emerald Ash Borer

Can you all believe it? This month, it will be one year since we started Bugs & Stuff! We are so excited to have you all listening to us this year and hope you’ve enjoyed listening to us ramble about Bugs and mostly stuff.

Anyway, this week we actually spend time doing science communication instead of just talking about that communication. We are talking about the emerald ash borer, which is the small green insect behind the decimation of the ash trees. In fact, the emerald ash borer is responsible for endangerment of 5 out of 6 ash tree species in North America. Trees that once numbered in the billions are now dead or facing death.

In this episode we talk a little about what is being done about this pest and how you can help prevent it’s spread. Invasive species are a huge problem that humans must face. They can cause the destruction and degradation of land and often their movement is facilitated by humans, but there are things that we can do about it if we take the time to better understand them.

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If you would like to know more about the emerald ash borer check out the U.S. Forest Service. Additionally, if you think your tree is being effected by the ash borer or another other pest consult your local arborist. They can help you diagnose and find the best solution for your trees. You can also call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer hotline 1-866-322-4512 or your local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Happy Pod-iversary to us!

Wow, can you believe it was a year ago this month that we started this podcast? We certainly can’t! We want to thank you, dear listeners, for sticking with us through the good and bad episodes! We absolutely love you for it! We’ve got a lot of new episodes planned for this new year and we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you! Please never hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas!

Special thank you to Nancy Jones Creations for our new celebratory banner! We love it! Keep a look out for more of her amazing work and a guest appearance or two from her in the future!

**Sincerest apologies for all the explanation points in this post. I’m just really excited for this milestone.