Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

2018 Day of Insects

March 23, 2018 - March 24, 2018

Reiman Gardens 1407 University Blvd. Ames, IA 50011

Celebrating an Annual Day of Insects

Reiman Gardens is so enthusiastic about insects that we set aside a special day just for them every year. Our annual Day of Insects brings together professionals, academics, advocates and enthusiasts of all levels from across the country to explore and celebrate entomology (the study of insects). Topics often include insects native to Iowa, exotic insects, endangered insects, conservation efforts and new educational programs aimed at advancing the appreciation of all invertebrates.

Events are open to anyone interested and also include informal time for food and socialization on the night before the Day of Insects, and snacks and lunch during the day.

Again this year we will be offering four different workshops on Friday afternoon on invertebrate related topics for those interested in attending.  These workshops are offered in two different time blocks so you will need to decide which topic you are most interested in.  Individuals can participate in the workshops regardless if they are attending any of the other DOI activities.

Individuals that are in town early the night before we will have an opening reception. Come be casual, enjoy dinner, get to know other insect enthusiasts, there’s more of us than you think.  Anyone attending DOI can sign up to attend the reception and there will be some slots made available for individuals unable to attend DOI so they can participate as well.

WORKSHOPS (Friday, March 23)
*Each workshop has a 20 person limit.

12:45-2:45 p.m. – “Photography of Aquatic Insects: From Streamside to Desktop” presented by Greg Courtney, Iowa State University
After a brief introduction to macro photography “basics” (cameras, image size, lenses & lighting), we will delve into issues relevant specifically to photographing aquatic insects. This will include capturing images in both the field and laboratory. Live specimens will be available for “practice”, so be sure to bring your camera.

12:45-2:45 p.m. – “Basic BugGuide” presented by John VanDyk & Laura Jesse Iles, Iowa State University
This is a gentle introduction to BugGuide and how to use this community resource to identify insects. Learn how to interact with BugGuide 2.0 and see what’s changed from BugGuide Classic. Ask questions about how to use BugGuide to track Iowa insects or anything else you want to know. John and Laura will demonstrate BugGuide and take feedback for improvement.

3:00-5:00 p.m. – “A Speedy Look at Iowa’s Snails” presented by Harlan Ratcliff
This workshop will be looking at terrestrial and freshwater snails of Iowa, and what information is available to study them.  We will look at the anatomy of snails, and how they compare to other mollusks.  I will have some snail shells and we will attempt to use keys to identify them to species.  We will also see the premiere of a short movie called Lord of the Ring.  (Since the budget was somewhat limited, “ring” is singular.  We couldn’t afford “Lord of the Rings.”)

3:00-5:00 p.m. – “Advanced BugGuide” presented by John VanDyk, Iowa State University
This workshop is for experienced BugGuiders or those who want to learn about the full power of BugGuide. Find out how to access BugGuide’s API (application programming interface), machine learning, how to put a feed of recently submitted BugGuide images on your website, exporting BugGuide data, and other advanced topics.


OPENING RECEPTION – (Friday, March 23)

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Dinner, Keynote presentation and behind the scenes Reiman Gardens entomology tour.

Keynote: “Singing Insects 101: The Neocon Awards.” presented by Carl Strang

For more information, contact Nathan Brockman at


2017 PRESENTATIONS (Saturday, March 24)

9:10-9:30 a.m. – “Insect Life on the Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve: Host Plants, Food Sources, Habitats and Management” presented by Paul Mayes

9:30-9:50 a.m. – “Sphinx Moths-Expanding Worldwide Species List” presented by Steve Bransky

9:50-10:10 a.m. – “Hidden Gems of the University Library” presented by Megan O’Donnell & Rachel Seale, Iowa State University

10:10-10:30 a.m. – “Prairie Wettas!: Husbandry and Reproduction of the Robust Camel Cricket” presented by Nate Nelson, Sedgwick County Zoo

11:00-11:20 a.m. – “The Art of Caring: Using photography to create a connection” presented by Alex Wiles

11:20-11:40 a.m. – “Ames Students Aiding Pollinators: ASAP” presented by Mike Todd & Ames High School Students

11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – “Use of Forest and Prairie Habitats by Bumble Bees” presented by Nikhil Viraj Thacker, Luther College

12:00-12:20 p.m. – “The Quest for Cryptic Caddisflies: Vignettes on the Natural History of “Rare” Trichoptera” presented by Greg Courtney, Iowa State University

1:20-1:40 p.m. – CRISPR: The New X-Ray of Sterile Insect Technique. Will Mosquitoes be the Next Screwworm” presented by Andrew Guinness, Eck Institute for Global Health & Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

1:40-2:00 p.m. – “Raising Monarchs Outside with the One and Done Method” presented by Cam Watts

2:00-2:20 p.m. – “A Third Grade Teacher’s Apology to the Painted Ladies” presented by Laurie Adrian

2:20-2:40 p.m. – “Adventurous Insect Eating: Why this ‘scary’ food is healthy, eco-friendly, and surprisingly easy to try” presented by Tad Yankoski, MOBOT

3:10-3:30 p.m. – “A Survey of the North America Medicinal Leeches in Kansas” presented by Nate Nelson, Sedgwick County Zoo

3:30-3:50 p.m. – “Time for Lady Beetles: The 9.3-Minute Tour” presented by Louis Hessler, SD USDA

3:50-4:10 p.m. – “Stem and Twig Life” presented by John van der Linden

Are you interested in presenting at next year’s 2019 DOI?  Most of the presenters for the day are selected by the DOI committee, but each year we open up two “wild card” slots to the invertebrate community. One of the goals of DOI is to give individuals working on insects an opportunity to share that information with individuals interested in insects. So, what insects fascinate you, what are you working on, are you ready to share your enthusiasm and knowledge with others?  If so, please contact me at

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE FOR DAY OF INSECTS. Attendees must register by March 19, 2018.  We are utilizing a new registration system so please let us know if you have any problems while registering.  When you click the link above make sure to select all items you want to participate in before clicking the “view cart” option. 

Other Information:

Silent Auction to support
During DOI, we will be holding a silent auction for participants at DOI to bid on.  If you would like to participate in the auction and can bring an item for the auction they can be dropped off at registration in the morning for DOI.  This year all proceeds from the auction will go to supporting and its operations.

Hotel Information
If you are looking for a hotel to stay in while you are in town for DOI.  Gateway Hotel & Conference Center has a DOI rate of $102 a night if you mention “Day of Insect Reiman Gardens Rate” when you are making your reservation.

Gateway Hotel & Conference Center

2100 Green Hills Drive
Ames, Iowa, 50014, US
Phone: 515/292-8600
Fax: 515/268-2224

« Back

© 2020, Blank Park Zoo. All rights reserved.