Entomology (Study of Bugs)/RE: Questionaire


QUESTION: Mr. Saugstad,

My name is Jonathan Stasi-Welsh, age 8 (soon to be 9).  

Would you be willing to answer a few written questions about the importance entomology has had (and will continue to have) on the environment and Mankind?

As a future entomologist, I wish to learn more and use your response to the questionnaire in helping me write a report.  This report will help fulfill my school summer assignment as I enter 4th Grade.

Thank You,

PS  My dad helped me type this request

ANSWER: Dear Jonathan - If you attach the questionnaire to a follow-up question, I will do my best to answer it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Please answer the attached six question questionnaire.

Thank you,

ANSWER: I'm sorry, Jonathan, but I do not see any questionnaire attached to this question. Am I missing something?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Questionnaire from Jonathan

1.    Why did you become an entomologist?
2.   How long have you been an entomologist?
3.   What benefits have entomology made on mankind?
4.    What bug(s) do you specialize in?
5.   What are the benefits of pillbugs?
6.   To complete my project, I need to read a book on entomology; what 4th or 5th Grade level books you recommends?  
7.   What can I (as a 4th Grader) do to continue my pursuit as an entomologist?

Dear Jonathan - Here is my stab at your questions -
Hope this helps,

1. Why did you become an entomologist?    As a young child, I became fascinated by the insects, especially lady beetles, that I saw on our family farm in North Dakota. Also, my father had taken some graduate courses in entomology before returning to the farm, and I started looking through his books while I was still quite young.

2. How long have you been an entomologist?    Good question. Probably you could consider that could be starting with my earning a B.S. in Entomology at North Dakota State University in 1963; that would be 50 years.

3. What benefits have entomology made on mankind?   It would be very difficult for me to enumerate all the good things the science of entomology has done for mankind, including research on insect/arthropod-borne diseases, determining strategies to combat insect threats to agriculture and stored grains/food products, applying insect life cycles to forensic medicine, determining roles of various pollinators (not just honey bees!) in the production of fruits and other crops, etc. etc., so I recommend that you download a copy of “Discover Entomology” at http://tinyurl.com/lsggxo7

4. What bug(s) do you specialize in?    Currently, I do not specialize in any particular group and consider myself a generalist. At one time, I did specialize in mosquitoes, and authored/co-authored several papers on that subject, including a revision of the mosquitoes of Japan and Korea (published in 1979)

5. What are the benefits of pillbugs?   When it comes to insects and arthropods in general, I feel that terms like benefits, beneficial, etc. are relative and human-oriented that may or may not reflect the role the organisms play in the overall web of life. In the case of pillbugs and their relatives in the crustacean order Isopoda, they primarily are scavengers/detrivores that feed on decomposing organic matter. When they do this in the gardens of we humans, we reap the benefit of the compost they make as well as loosening of soil through their digging activities. The other side of the coin is that they occasionally cause damage to tender vegetation, including potato tubers.

6. To complete my project, I need to read a book on entomology; what 4th or 5th Grade level books you recommend?     There are a great many on this subject, and although I hesitate to recommend any particular one as I have not read any of them, “The Insect Book: A Basic Guide to the Collection and Care of Common Insects for Young Children” might be worthwhile. And it is quite inexpensive – see http://tinyurl.com/l6xbykl

7. What can I (as a 4th Grader) do to continue my pursuit as an entomologist?   Simply stay interested. If there is a 4-H club () anywhere near you, I suggest joining it, and have entomology as your primary project. I know that this really gave me a boost. As you get older, look for opportunities to volunteer in entomology-related activities/projects in your community or local college/university. Finally, I suggest that you explore the web pages of the Entomological Society of America (http://www.entsoc.org/) – among other things, you will find detailed interviews with four entomologists, one of whom is a former Army colleague of mine, at http://tinyurl.com/mxlkhs4  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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