On October 15, some 27 intrepid souls braved the cold wet weather at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to look for bugs along Escape Road, taking part in the 2011 Big Island Insect Count held Saturday October 15. Most years bug hunters find plenty of flies, grasshoppers, crickets and hemipteran bugs. But these were hiding from the rain, so participants had to search harder to find some bugs. But because people were searching so hard, they found things usually overlooked: a fungus-killed moth with its abdomen covered with a white fungus (probably Beauveria), and a yellowjacket with an unusual fungus (possibly Hirsutella saussurei) growing in strands out of its body. After collecting insects, participants warmed up in one of the USGS Research Labs located within the Park, and heard USGS Entomologist Dennis Lapointe talk about good bugs, bad bugs, and really bad bugs (mosquitoes that transmit diseases to birds). Then participants enjoyed bento lunches (provided free by the Society) and looked at especially cool insects through microscopes. Next time this event is carried out in the rain, hot chocolate will be provided on the trail and we’ll give special prizes for every insect found that is more than 5 mm in length!
The event even made it into the Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald!