Crickets with Crayons? Mosquitoes with Markers?

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December 13, 2021

If you love insects and other arthropods, North Carolina State University has the coloring book for you! Most coloring books focus on drawings of cartoon characters for kids or peaceful designs for adults. If you’ve been looking for a (free) coloring book that focuses on the diversity of arthropod life — from insects to arachnids — we have a treat for you.

Matt Bertone, the director and diagnostic entomologist of North Carolina State University’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, created a coloring book called “Arthropods! A Coloring/Learning Guide for Young Naturalists.”

You can download the coloring book, for free, here. The book may be particularly handy for anyone seeking learning or enrichment activities for kids to engage with at home. 

“I started this book in 2008, but never really finished it,” Bertone says. “I had recently completed my Ph.D. and hadn’t found my professional path yet. So, I considered making and selling coloring books. More than 12 years later, I have a position I really enjoy, helping people identify and understand the arthropod species that live all around us. Recently there was a tweet about what people would have done if they didn’t get their job, and I chimed in about drawing coloring books, promising to share this. Then I figured with lots of people at home with kids, that this might be the most opportune time to give a little back to folks and release it for free.”

In addition to illustrations for coloring, the book offers information for young readers about arthropod diets, habitats and diversity. However, Bertone notes that the book was written in 2008, so some of the terminology may have changed. In other words, taxonomists, please don’t get upset with him! Source: N.C. State News


Pest-y Podcasts

If coloring books are too mid-2000s for you, how about an insect podcast? This past spring, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts launched two new podcast series: “Unwanted Guests,” which covers insects and other pests in homes and buildings, and “Bugs by the Yard,” which covers insects found in Texas yards and gardens.

“It started with a podcast where Dr. Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist in Overton, was interviewing other entomologists,” said Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension entomologist for Travis County. “Erfan has a voice for radio and also has done stand-up comedy. From there it evolved to a group of us working together to launch two unique podcasts centered around insects and pests.”

Brown said the podcasts are for anyone with an interest in insects or a pest you!

UNWANTED GUESTS. The structural pest podcast, “Unwanted Guests,” is hosted by Robert Puckett, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension entomologist, Bryan-College Station; Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist, Dallas; Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist for Bexar County; and Brown.

“This podcast covers those unwanted guests in your home or building,” said Hurley. “We’ll be focusing on the insects and pests you’d prefer not to find in or around your structures.”

Find “Unwanted Guests” at Recently covered topics include kissing bugs, fall nuisance pests and commensal rodents.

BUGS BY THE YARD. The landscape pest podcast, “Bugs by the Yard,” is hosted by Vafaie, Keck and Brown. It can be found at Topics covered in this podcast include: an introduction to the entomologists; insects and winter survival; pollinator gardening; venomous spiders of Texas; and insects in vegetable gardens. Source: Susan Himes, Texas A&M AgriLife News