INHS scientists, including insect collection manager Tommy McElrath, conducted bumble bee surveillance as part of a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation for a few parcels in northern Illinois affected by road and highway construction projects. These parcels may or may not be prime habitat for bees. But if something rare turns up, like the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee, Bombus affinis, IDOT might alter its plans.
Tommy McElrath wrote for the U of I News Bureau about the problem of deteriorating rubber stoppers and how a grant from the National Science Foundation is enabling INHS to replace them, thereby preserving valuable insect collection specimens. Read the complete rubber stopper story at the News Bureau’s website.
Tommy McElrath describes some of the unusual ways specimens have been stored over time, including toe-tagged tarantula specimens sharing a recycled pickle jar. Read the full story of the tarantulas and more about the hands-on work required to keep insect collection specimens properly preserved at the News Bureau website.
New Collection manager, Dr. Tommy McElrath, just arrived, replacing Chris Grinter who is now insect collection manager at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Please contact Tommy for all collection-related business.
Diane Szafoni, a GIS coordinator at INHS, discovered that her great, great uncle by marriage, Andrew Bolter, donated his entire insect collection to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1900. This valuable collection included thousands of beetles, butterflies, and other insects.
Local Illinois collector, Dr. Pat Thomas donated over 6,000 insects to the INHS insect collection. Read the full story from The Times.