[Rearview ] Entmlgsts & Thr Lcnse Plts

Departments - RearView

March 25, 2014
PCT Magazine

Editor’s Note: The following article appeared on Mike Merchant’s blog, “Insects in the City,” which can be found at http://insectsinthecity.blogspot.com. The blog offers readers news and commentary about the urban pest management industry and is excerpted here with permission of the author.

I’ve always appreciated the creativity that goes into vanity plates — even if they are sometimes, well, a little vain. But you have to love the entomologists’ license plates submitted to the first-ever BugMobile contest sponsored by the Entomological Society of America late last year.

Members of ESA were asked to submit photos of creative, insect-themed cars or license plates. Most sent in insect-related license plates that they own or see around town. People visiting the Facebook site were then invited to “like” their favorites, and the plate with the most “likes” wins.

The winner was a cool-looking, University of Arizona-themed license plate with the not-so-original (in my opinion) text, DRBUG. Much more original (in my opinion) was the plate that must have belonged to a pest management professional, DBUG4U. Also way cool was the yellow-with-black-racing-stripes Chevy Camaro, with the Iowa plates reading BMBULBE.

One entomologist advertised his or her enthusiasm about entomology with the plate N2BUGS. I liked that.

Some plates only an entomologist would love, or understand, such as the Colorado plate reading SCARAB2, suggesting an enthusiasm for beetles in the family Scarabeidae (and implying that she is not alone, assuming SCARAB1 had already been taken). Even more of an insider plate read BUP DR, which I might not have recognized as an entomologist’s plate in another context — BUP referring to the beetle family Buprestidae. And BTLEMAN. And HISTERS and SCARABS (beetle families Histeridae and Scarabeidae) in the same driveway no less. I’ll bet I can guess what dinner table talk is like at that home is like. What is it about beetle guys and their vanity plates?

Some of the references were too obscure for me. CANTHON turns out to be another dung beetle. CY BUGS...cyborg bugs? SP NOV is entomologist code for “new species” in Latin...representing a dream of every entomologist to name a new bug species.

I got BUG DOOD, TSETSE (for the African Tsetse fly — carrier of sleeping sickness) and BUG ACE (which I suppose is proudly displayed by an Associate Certified Entomologist).

As for my car, I do have two bumper stickers that I’ve never displayed publicly. They read “Have You Hugged Your Exterminator Today?” And, “Entomologists are Good for What Bugs You.” Maybe someday I’ll be bold enough, or vain enough, to advertise my inner bug nerd.

If any of you have a photo that you’re especially proud of, I’d like to see it. Just email me a copy at m-merchant@tamu.edu. Or post it to PCT’s Facebook page (search for “PCT magazine”).