University Professor Schools Kids on Bugs

University Professor Schools Kids on Bugs

Instructor Michael Eskelson hosted an entomology session Wednesday at the University of Nebraska West Central Research and Extension Center to teach students about insects in the area.

The professor from the University of Nebraska Extension Center wants kids to understand the insect world, and gave a talk at the Center last week, inviting only a young audience.

Kids from the surrounding areas lined up to learn bug facts and took a trip to the fields to start their own collection.

The lecture began with an overview of the world of insects, the most diverse set of creatures on our plant.

Eskelson started with the facts. “There are almost 1 million species of known insects on the Earth, about 80 percent of all living creatures,” Eskelson said. “Some of them are harmful — about 5 percent — but most of them help us and are needed.”

He lectured his audience about the definition of an insect, how to identify the different types, and what the most helpful ones are for farmers. Ladybugs and pollinators are two of the most common beneficial bugs, and Eskelson explained that ladybugs eat aphids that are destructive to crops, while pollinators stimulate food production.

Students collected insects with a net in an adjacent field and placed them in plastic bags. A cotton ball laced with acetone in the bags killed the bugs, which were then pinned for a collection.

“I learned that bugs have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies,” said student Kason Bruns. “That is the reason they make a crunchy sound when people step on them.”