Friday 5: Insects Are Invading My Desk

I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer desk writing various things (scientific papers, blog posts, e mails, short stories) and wandering the internet.  It’s a rather crowded desk, but everything is in its place, even if that place is one of the little piles of papers on either side of my keyboard.  I also happened to really look at my desk yesterday for some reason and I noticed that I’ve also got bugs all over my desk.! (I’ve got bugs all over my house, so it’s only natural that they find their way onto my desk too I guess.)  Here are 5 insect things that are on my desk right now!

Lethocerus americanus Plush

Lethocerus plush

Lethocerus plush

Made by the fantastic Weird Bug Lady!  I love my plush giant water bug and it makes me really happy to see him sitting on my scanner.  He makes a great pillow if I’m falling asleep at my desk.  I also pull him down and use him as a hugging pillow now and again, when I get frustrated with something or get stuck at some point in my writing.  Nothing eases tension like hugging a plush Lethocerus!  :)  (Brigette also has a great blog, Caterpillarblog!  Check it out!)

Butterfly in a Jar

Butterfly in a jar

Butterfly in a jar

My husband got this for me for our anniversary this year and I love it!  I tap it several times a day to make the butterfly fly around inside the jar and it still hasn’t gotten old.  I am also a huge clutz and don’t pay nearly enough attention to where I’m going, so I smack into my desk while sitting down or knock the desk hard with a book at least 3 or 4 times each day.  My butterfly dances around in its jar every time I do and it makes me smile.  Actually, my butterfly flies so often that I’ve had to change the batteries several times since I got it!  It’s amazing how much joy I get out of a few pieces of plastic, a wire, a couple of batteries, and a mason jar…  (You can have one too!  They’re available on Think Geek.)

Adventures Among Ants

Adventures Among Ants

Adventures Among Ants

My birthday is this weekend and I have been getting gifts in the mail.  Bug gifts have featured prominently!  My sister bought me an awesome handmade mayfly pottery serving bowl.  (I’m providing the link because I really love the potter – even though her damselflies are really mayflies – and maybe some of you will too!)  My husband can’t keep gifts a secret and I got the book Wicked Bugs from him last week.  Adventures Among Ants is from my dad and arrived today, hence it’s still sitting on my desk.  I’m super excited about getting to read it finally!

Bug Mug

Bug mug

Bug mug

I have two things that symbolize my decision in high school that I was going to become an entomologist.  One is a bee necklace, a honeybee encased in resin, that my aunt bought at a natural history museum for me.  She was the first person to take me seriously when I started telling everyone I was going to be an entomologist, and I consider my bee necklace my good luck charm.  My sister gave me this mug shortly afterwards.  I used it to fuel my tea addiction for many years, but it’s developed some cracks and is now enjoying a second life as a pencil cup.  Bright colors, insects – what’s not to love?

Dead Insects

Dead bugs

Dead bugs

I apparently have quite a collection of dead insects on my desk!  Some of them are things I still need to identify.  Others are insects I’ve found in the house that aren’t nice enough to put into my collection, but I hate to throw away.  Some have a real use.  In the photo above, you see a plastic bag containing a damselfly to ID and a shed green darner exoskeleton, an Odontomachus trap jaw ant I found in my yard that hasn’t found its way into my alcohol collection yet, a plastic cryovial full of mealworms to feed to giant water bugs, the tarantula hawk that I featured in last week’s Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday, and the half chewed cicada that I mentioned in Insects the Dogs Ate.  Clearly, some of these things have been on my desk for a while…

I’m going to assume that most people don’t have a desk covered in dusty dead bugs or jars filled with electronic butterflies, but maybe some of you do!  Anyone else want to fess up about the insects or other science related things on your desk?

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29 thoughts on “Friday 5: Insects Are Invading My Desk

  1. What a nice tour of your desk! Mine is not as varied and interesting. I’ll let my Bisbee AZ and Nova Scotia friend Bev Wigney know about this post. She has taken some truly wonderful insect photos over the years!

  2. I’m glad your Lethocerus plushie gets lots of love!

    My desk has my pet cockroaches and vinegaroon, moth-patterned desk organizer, butterfly and beetle themed artwork from Ecuador, most of my pinning supplies, and some of my butterfly specimens from when I was a kid :)

    • Actually, as I was writing the post, I found myself reaching for my Lethocerus and ended up propping him up in front of me as I wrote, then used him as a chinrest as I surfed the net afterwards. I love it! Love you’re collection of insects stuff on your desk too! Sadly, my roachies live in the other room. I’m impressed by all of you that have enough space to pin things on your desks too. I need me a bigger desk apparently…

  3. Looking around my desk I see I also have a dragonfly mug that is now a pencil holder, plus a small stained glass box with a dragonfly on it (which holds paper clips, rubber bands, etc.)

    I _loved_ the stuffed giant water bug! Just ordered a planaria for my biology-teacher stepdaughter for Christmas!

    • I’m sure Brigette appreciates the business! I’ve been considering one of those myself. Glad to hear that your desk is rocking the dragonflies too! I have a rather strong lack of dragonflies on my desk, now that I’m looking around…

  4. I run an environmental education program for a conservation district. The contents of my desk (and the surrounding floor space, bookshelf, and sometimes neighboring desks) vary depending on what I am teaching to students that week. Right now within arm’s reach, I have a critter carrier full of super mealworms, a dead fly & dead stinkbug in vials, a killing jar, a styrofoam block that I use for pinning, a model of soil particle sizes, a soil profile model, gouty oak galls, willow pinecone galls, a bird’s nest, a slab of wood from a green ash tree, about 10 different field guides, dried cattails, two buckets of rock samples, and who knows what else. People from other offices in the building come by sometimes just to see what is on my desk and to bring me things that they have found.

  5. Eighteen (18) vials of beetles, awaiting a REALLY cold, snotty day, when I have nothing else to do but identify them. Five glassine envelopes of damselflies from my Montana trip this summer, ditto.

    Seven glassine envelopes of TENTATIVELY identified damselflies, waiting for the experts at Odonata Central to decide whether I guessed right or not. Twenty-one of my most used bug books.
    A cheapie ($150) dissecting scope, a pinning block and pins, a hand lens, and some tweezers. A killing jar, in case I have to run outside and kill something. Elmer’s glue, for gluing little beetles to points, and for reattaching damselfly heads. Idiot-proof point-and-shoot digital camera, for taking pics of bugs through the microscope. Computer. It’s a BIG table.

  6. I’m sure there’s something entomological on my desk at home, but it’s a little buried in non-entomological stuff at the moment… oops.

    I think I might have to buy one of those butterfly jars for my wife (and me)! What a neat little trinket!

  7. I think my mother has that exact mug.

    The only insect related material I have in my desk are actual ants, which have decided that the temperature is much nicer indoors than out this time of year. Personally, I’d rather spend more time outdoors, but to each their own.

  8. My desk has recently been cleaned. All I have on it at the moment (as far as critters go) are two unidentified spiders, two carpet beetle larvae, an unidentified mite, and a few fruit flies (food for the spiders). All of these are alive. And there’s a indian meal moth on the ceiling above the desk. Does that count?

  9. My desk at home is small (not long/wide) but has three shelves, stacked atop each other, plus the main work surface, and then an elevated area at my feet. Here goes:
    Top shelf: spare pinning board w/loose pins. George, my windup bug “robot”. A bin of misc.glass/plastic vials, forceps, aspirator, hand lenses. A box of misc. pins, spare pinning block. Misc. insects in hand sanitizer displays a la Dragonfly Woman’s how-to post. Small box of cool pinned wasps my wife collected.
    Middle shelf: about 5 insect field guides.
    Bottom shelf: pinning stuff – foam boards, pin holder/sorter, pinning block, cork, labels, petri dishes, forceps, points and point punch, misc. unsorted pinned stuff, vials of misc. beetles (and spiders mistakenly given to me).
    Sides of shelves (hanging off clips): three sheets of insect stickers. ESC 2012 save-the-date.
    Work surface: surprisingly bug-free at this moment. Oh, wait! Insect stickers on my laptop!
    At my feet: microscope, Lindroth’s Carabid key.
    On the floor: unit trays, boxes and boxes of beetles in vials of alcohol. Loose empty vials scattered by cat (arg.) 1 shoebox of pinned beetles from Iqaluit.
    That doesn’t include the non-bug-but-still-nerdy stuff (bones-arctic fox skull!-, rocks, fossils, feathers, other books, etc.)
    Don’t get me started about the rest of the room.
    Or the rest of my house.

  10. I don’t have a desk now, but i used to have a plastic paperweight with a female scorpion inside with about 30 babies on her back. I also had a fossilized cast of a clam that was 125MY old. When someone gave me a project and insisted it was very important, I often wondered if it would seem important when it was the same age as the fossil.

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