Shiny Updates to the Website Coming Soon!

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. We are working hard behind the scenes to bring some much needed (and highly requested) updates to the website! This will include a fabulous new store for all things Bug Chicks and Bug Chicks Approved, just in time for spring and insects. It will also include a great new way to book us online if you live in/near Portland, OR and if you want to schedule a Skype ClassChat with us from anywhere in the world! We have been teaching a great deal and Kristie has been traveling, speaking and training teachers in workshops. We are currently developing a new course for people who want to become better outreach educators, especially with regard to CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT! It’s our special mojo (besides bugs). We are not rockstars at much, but we can manage a crowd and we can teach you the tips and tricks. Shiny Updates to the Website Coming Soon!
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2016 Year in Review

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. Sometimes you have a year that just blows you away. For us, 2016 was that year. It was an incredible year with awesome opportunities and forward momentum. As you read this, it may seem that I (Kristie) handle the majority of the work. This is because Jess got a full-time job back in 2015 so that I could restructure the business. We are moving away from a local workshop based biz model to a more national brand focusing on video, consulting and teacher training. It’s the only way we will be able to survive and THRIVE. We still teach children across the states, but will have more ways to reach people! Jess joins me for big brand events, but currently I handle the business, teaching, writing and partnerships. (Buy me coffee??) Don’t worry- Jess is still a Bug Chick and my BFF! Hopefully, Jess can come back to full-time soon. I started this business (Solpugid Productions which grew into The Bug Chicks) back in 2004 and Jess and ..
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Is it a Kissing Bug or a Leaf-footed Bug?

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. Lately, we have received a few questions on our Facebook page asking about kissing bugs. Some people have sent pictures of insects that they suspect may be the insects that transmit Chagas Disease, a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi that can range from mild symptoms to congestive heart filature later in life if left untreated. There must have been some kind of news report about them, because all of a sudden, we are being contacted by people who seem concerned. IDENTIFICATION HELP Here’s a pic from a fan named Jeremy, who found this true bug in Roanoke, VA. I asked if we could share this photo and walk people through how to identify if you’ve got a kissing bug or not. What Jeremy found is a leaf-footed bug. They DO NOT transmit Chagas disease. They eat plant juices and not animal blood. Below is a closer picture of a leaf-footed bug. One of the clearest characteristics that you can distinguish ..
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Can you guess the species of this pupa?

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. The other night in the kitchen as we were cleaning up after dinner, I came across a small green caterpillar on the counter. It must have come from some of our produce. I immediately wanted to photograph it and get it under the scope. But also, it was late, I had just washed a bunch of dishes and I was feeling lazy so I put it in a mason jar with the intention of dealing with it the next day. When I picked up the jar the next morning I didn’t see the small green caterpillar. I thought maybe it had escaped. Or maybe the little rascal had pupated! I opened the lid and my suspicions were confirmed. A beautiful little green chrysalis was attached to the lid. Let’s get oriented. Below you can see that this pupae is upside down on the lid. It created a sling out of silk in order to stabilize and attach itself to the lid. That’s the dorsal side (back) of the thorax and the wings will form wrapped around the front of the body. The ..
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Bug Blast at the Burke Museum!

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. Last Sunday I woke up at 5AM and packed up my trusty car with my arthropod zoo and some bug costumes. I made the three hour drive up to Seattle (after stopping to get coffee- I’m not a robot) to headline Bug Blast at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. I was hoping Jess would come with me but girl got the flu!!! So I had to Bug Chick alone. But this sunrise I caught outside Kalama was worth the early morning. Bug Blast is an annual event for families held at the Burke Museum in Seattle. Lots of different organizations come together to make this event a success. Just a few: The Pacific Science Center, the Woodland Park Zoo, Puget Sound Beekeepers, Seattle’s Child, League of Scientific Illustrators, and the Scarabs: The Bug Society of Seattle. They brought displays and live animals and educated the public about animals with exoskeletons. I found my people!!! I taught three lives shows throughout the day but mana..
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Evidence of Animals (Frass Happens)

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. Sometimes finding the evidence of an animal is just as exciting and interesting as finding the animal itself. Unfurling a leaf I uncovered a mass of silk and excrement from what I’m assuming was a leaf roller moth in the Family Tortricidae. The moth had pupated and left this behind. This gorgeous clump is frass. Frans is insect poop. Frass happens, people. And I will photograph it. The color is strangely beautiful and the slight striations on the surface remind me of the microstructure of a seashell. Whoa– too much waxing poetic on poo. This is one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken with the Flipview digital scope. When I was looking at it on the tree, this tiny, clear gossamer strand initially looked like spider silk to me. But when I blew the picture up, Jess and I determined that it was a small, thin sheet of dried snail slime. It is so delicate and so ephemeral. It likely dissolved with the rain that fell later that a..
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“But Why Kids” Radio Show

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. After we spoke at NAITC in Phoenix in June we rushed over to a radio station to record a segment for a public radio show that airs in Vermont called “But Why Kids.” Several children were recorded asking questions about insects and we responded! It was super fun and we got to record in a beautiful station. Listen to the show here! It was featured on NPR and Vermont Public Radio. WHUT??!! “But Why Kids” Radio Show
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Flowers Up-Close

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. I took a botany class once. It was…fine. It was the semester before I went to Kenya for the first time and I took it concurrently with entomology, so it was never going to have a chance to feel my love. I was all- Plants, meh. Truth be told I’m still a little bit like that. I can’t keep them alive. I don’t know their names besides tree, flower, spiky thing, etc. I like carrion plants (they smell like rotting flesh to attract flies) and carnivorous plants (they eat insects with digestive fluids). Catch the drift? But I’ve been really exploring my world with my Celestron FlipView and decided to look closely at flowers. There are a few pics here that I want to blow up wall size (the last one in particular) so that I can feel like I’m living inside a flower. Erm…like an insect? I’m incorrigible. Fancy a walk amongst the flowers with me? Perhaps I should run a contest where I can have people identify them and win something. Bad ..
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I’m Lichen It!

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. I went out for a walk around the block with my FlipView digital microscope, looking for inspiration. After playing with the video function and filming some pollinators I decided to turn my sights onto the tree in my front yard. It’s a maple tree and it has these little notches in the bark that look like freckles. Then I noticed the lichen. I’ve always been fascinated by lichen, ever since I volunteered at the Archbold Biological Station. Lichen is a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae. Here’s a little saying to help you remember it: Allie Algae and Freddie Fungus fell in love, but now their marriage is on the rocks. ** 7/21/2106 Totally New Science Update: Yeast has been revealed as the third partner in the lichen symbiosis! New research just came out. So less like a marriage than a triumvirate. (Or maybe like a marriage, whatever floats your boat.) Lichen can present in a dizzying array of forms and colors. I’..
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A Few Pollinators

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. I challenged myself to walk around the block and simply explore with my FlipView microscope with an assignment to shoot some video with it. I didn’t even make it one quarter of the way! I shot some footage of pollinators doing their thing. It was a bit windy, so the flowers are moving quite a bit in the clips (how do the insects hang on so well???) but I’m pleased with the result from this little microscope! Can you tell which one is not the bee or bee relative? A Few Pollinators
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