There were some interesting insect-related events going on in Hamden, Connecticut this past weekend. The Brood II 17-year cicadas are out, and the nearest location to see them in large numbers is the Connecticut River Valley. I don't think I've ever run into periodical cicadas before, so it was a new experience for me.
|Adults and shed skins from nymphs on a birch tree.|
|Nymph emerging from the soil.|
|Adult shedding its skin|
There was a van and a car from Canada parked in a power line right of way in the area with the cicadas and some French Canadians were out beating the bushes. The leader of the Canadian group turned out to be a freelance entomologist, Andre Desjardins, who was visiting to check out Connecticut insect life. Southern New England is apparently the closest that Magicicada gets to Quebec. He thought that the cicadas would be active well into July and was very excited to be able to see them and collect some specimens.
|Tom Seeley and an artificial honeybee swarm.|
Tom also demonstrated one of his basic experimental tools, an artificial swarm with a caged queen set up in the fields at the state agricultural experiment station. We could watch the scout bees advocating for nest sites (using the famous waggle dance) on the surface of the swarm, and see how different locations at various distances and directions gained or lost popularity over the course of the day. The swarm never actually came to a decision and tried to take off (apparently, they would have returned once they realized the queen was left behind in her cage), but it was fascinating to observe the process for a while.