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Spring is in the air, er, mouthparts: Bug Night #4

The female Bug Night-er was in a quandary about her plans for the evening. She was walking toward St. Paul’s School and weighing her options and considered taking off her usual Wednesday night identification duties. It was warm and the evening breeze brought soft and sweet air that was more like April than February. It was better than the heavy scent of denatured alcohol made airborne by the hot dissecting scope lights.

She was interrupted in her reverie of indecision by the rapid clicking of tarsi on the salty pavement. She turned to see who else was walking on this glorious evening.

“Whir is Bfg Neeth?” asked an insect of unusual size.

The Bug Night-er wondered if the poor diction was a result of the words coming from a bug with considerable mandibles or that the mouth parts held, strangely, a large metal spring. Somehow, she understood instinctively what the insect wanted, despite these two impediments to speech.

“You are on the right path to Bug Night,” the Bug Night-er offered, “I have been wondering if I should go in or stay out and walk more in the woods on this lovely evening.”

The insect regarded her with equanimity.

“What are you going to do?” the Bug Night-er asked.

The insect spit out the spring and with it, the acrid metallic taste. It never took its compound eyes off the Bug Night-er as it moved toward her with a perfect coordination of its six legs.

Maybe the smell of denatured alcohol in the laboratory wasn’t the worst thing in the world, she thought. It wasn’t her last thought but the smells of springs—both climatic and metallic—were.

Spring has not sprung and there is much work to do—and it can’t be done without you. We will see you on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp.

Keeping a lot of bugs in the air : Bug Night #3

“What’s up with the male White Coat?” asked the Bug Nigh-er, “He doesn’t seem to be himself.”

The White Coat did seem to be a bit sweaty and a little stressed when fielding questions.

Come to think of it, the Bug Night-ers mused, where was the female White Coat?

“Remember?” one of the leadership Bug Night-ers prompted, “Last week, she said that she had to work at her day job and implored us to go easy on the male White Coat. I had to be here fifteen minutes early to help set up.”

The reminder rang the faintest of bells for most Bug Night-ers—partly because they had learned to tune out her incessant clock warnings but also because the male White Coat juggling had been turned up a notch and it was more interesting than remembering why,”

Go easy on the sole White Coat—and enjoy watching him juggle bugs, jars, and other things. He will see you on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp.

Why do you need a ‘scope?: Bug Night #2

“It’s as plain as the compound eyes on my face,” said the sartorial insect as he became aggressive and angry, “Why do you need a ‘scope?”

It was a good question but the Bug Night-er was getting older. It was more difficult to see and he wanted to be sure to get this identification correctly.

“I know,” said the Bug Night-er, “I’m sorry but if I get this identification wrong, I will let down everyone—the White Coats will be upset and our data will not hold up for the Report to Congress.”

The insect was intrigued. He forgot his anger and released the Bug Night-er. “Report to Congress?”

“Yes,” said the Bug Night-er, “We are working as citizen scientists.”

He went on to explain that the invertebrate population in the river, including insects, reveals a long-term picture of river health including water quality and habitat conditions. It turns out that each creature tells a story and collectively, they speak volumes about the conditions.

The insect was more than mildly interested but not enough to overcome his instincts.

“How about I give you a better view of my mandibles? Will that help you identify me?” asked the insect as he took hold of the Bug Night-er with his tarsi and drew closer, his breath hot and overwhelming, “How do you like this story?”

Learn more at MerrimackRiver.org.

Rapture of the Bug: Bug Night #1 (aka opening night)

“You’re beautiful,” he said, “Don’t ever change.”

The Bug Night-ers looking on were startled—some of them were repulsed but most understood. It was not so long ago that a particular bug, worm, shelled creature, or arachnid had captured their hearts, and they were changed by it. They were just a bit surprised that it had happened so quickly with the newest Bug Night-er.

He noticed the gallery of amused, disgusted, and knowing faces focused on him. He averted his eyes and spoke in hushed tones.

“Come home with me,” he said, “Come home with me and I promise you will never be lonely again.”

He looked around furtively and lowered his voice into an intimate whisper.

“They don’t understand us…”

He had a plan.

“Where is the washroom?” he asked in a thin, stilted voice, as he rose with a strange shape in his shirt pocket.

The female White Coat offered to escort him down the long corridor but he demurred. Everyone wondered why he needed his coat and car keys to use the washroom. After a while, no one wondered why he didn’t return, leaving on his ‘scope light.

What happens in the lab in the lab stays in the lab. Come home to Bug Nights. Opening night is Wednesday, February 5, 2020 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp. For driving directions and other information, please visit MerrimackRiver.org.