Rock Basket Days are here again: will you be there?

Rock Basket Days are here again…
Will you be there?

Basket Deployment day: June 28, 2017
Basket Retrieval day: August 16, 2017

Rock basket days are finally here again. We are preparing a roster for the two big days. There is some flexibility in deployment and retrieval but we are shooting for seven weeks from start-to-finish.

Tentatively, we plan to meet in June 28 and August 16 at 4:30 in the NH Department of Envirnmental Services parking lot for training, refresher, safety briefing, and equipment distribution.

Please confirm your participation by completing this brief form or emailing

Questions? Never hesitate to call us at 603.796.2615.

Bug Nights 2017: it’s over

They stood hand-in-hand; arm-in-arm in the darkening and quiet laboratory. They stared at the door as the few bugs that remainined left the lab in their vials, safely snuggled in their plastic egg carton.

“Are they really gone?” one Bug Night-er asked, “Will there be more?”

The White Coats kept their gazes steady. Their faces stretched nearly imperceptibly with small smiles.

“It is done,” said the male White Coat, “It is over.”

“For now…” breathed the female White Coat. Did anyone hear her?

They filed silently out of the building into the night. The sounds of insects greeted them.

We’ll see you next year—or maybe this summer for field season when we deploy and retrieve rocks baskets. We will keep you posted.

In case you suffer from Bug Night message withdrawal, the 2017 weekly messages are posted at for posterity. We are working on uploading the 2016 messages with their attendant retro movie images.

The Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program Digital Image Library™ is now online at If the URL does not work properly for you, you may have better results by copying it from this message and pasting it directly into your browser. Feel free to use these images to help you with your Bug Night identifications but please don’t share them—they are the copyrighted property of the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program. Thank you.

Bug Night #14: the big finish—do or die

I am going to miss her, thought the White Coat male.

She had been a challenging identification. Eight hairy but shapely striped legs. An abdomen that just wouldn’t quit. She should have been an easy ID. Yet here they were, the two of them at the end of Bug Nights, finishing the last few and really tough identifications from 2014. The White Coat female had exhausted all possibilities in the McCafferty and was running for the Merritt and Cummins. This was serious. She hated the Merritt and Cummins.

“Ahem,” said the arachnid female.

“I am sorry to keep you waiting all this time,” said the White Coat male, “We don’t see a lot of your kind, um, I mean, family here and we are working hard to provide a positive identification.”

How difficult could it be, thought the arachnid. She was rare. She knew exactly who she was but these White Coats, they had to key out everything.

“Would you like a hint?” she asked seductively as she excreted silk doodles in her web. The doodles were art, really. If you looked at them with your eyes nearly shut, they were caricatures of the White Coats running around or splayed on the web. It was difficult to tell which. They were almost effigies and they looked alarmed or possibly panicked.

The White Coats stopped in their tracks. The Bug Night-ers all froze. They had been working hard all year—many of them for years. Just ask an insect or an arachnid? Could it be this easy?

“Oh, yes,” said the White Coat male as if in a trance, “Please, please, tell us your name.”

She whispered, “Msphetlistomvemfis,” it sounded like but was barely audible. Everyone strained to hear. Was it the denatured alcohol fumes? Everyone seemed spacey. The room began to swim.

“Pardon me,” said the White Coat female dreamily, “We didn’t hear you, would you please repeat your name?”

“Come closer,” the arachnid purred softly as her impressive mouth parts curled into a playful smile. She strummed the web with her tarsi and made the silken White Coat effigies dance.

It’s the big finish on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Do or die. We have a just a couple of vials left from 2014 and they are very challenging. It’s dangerous work. You’ve been warned.

In case you suffer from Bug Night message withdrawal, the 2017 weekly messages are posted at for posterity. We are working on uploading the 2016 messages with their attendant retro movie images.

Bug Night #13: unrequited ID

“Don’t pretend that we haven’t been intimate,” he said, “You have seen my palps, for heaven’s sake, no one has seen my palps like you have.”

She was terrified. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The bugs were just supposed to be under the scope: small, legion, inert, dead.

“No… yes… I mean… I’m… I’m sorry,” she stuttered, “There have been so many and I have been so busy—I didn’t know you would feel this way.”

His mandibles were close. She could feel his breath and hear the high-pitched, winding sound of his sorrow. His pain was palpable. She felt that she had provided the necessary attention and care. She had examined his palps, yes, and so much more including his sizable trochantin and lush cetae.

“I just wanted to get through this year’s samples,” she gasped, “I was so close last year and didn’t finish—it was so unsatisfying.”

Perhaps that was not the best answer.

“Have the last thirteen weeks meant nothing to you?” he breathed, as his mandibles slowly squeezed around her throat. She reached for her forceps and dissecting needle. Somehow, this would have to end.

These last thirteen weeks have brought us to the brink of finishing the 2016 samples. We’ll have the last of the 2015 unsatisfyingly incomplete samples available for a big finish this season.