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Beyond saving the bees and butterflies

Angella Moorehouse spoke about her recent research with the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission on invasive and native species. Photo by Katelyn Edwards.

A seminar Friday discussed the native species in Illinois and the advancements made in the entomology field. Angella Moorehouse from the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission talked about her findings in the western Illinois area.

Moorehouse is a Natural Areas Preservation Specialist with a concentration in entomology, the study of insects. Moorehouse is trying to turn the discussion from bees to the other bugs who act as pollinators to all plants in Illinois.

“I talked mostly about some of my research in Illinois,” Moorehouse said. “I’m frustrated that most of the research is on bumblebees and butterflies only. I want to know everything.”

Moorehouse’s study with the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission goes beyond the bugs promoted for environmental protection. The commission researches other insects, both invasive and native, that visit flowers and plants and record their usual routine and their population levels. Those insects include scorpion flies, house flies, beetles, moths, ants and different species of bees were looked at.

“There is actually like a lot of species on the watch list,” junior pre-medicine major Chelsey Recendez said. “How they get on that list and all the work that has to be done [is interesting]. I found that field work is actually really cool and exciting, maybe something that I would like to be a part of.”

Some students at the presentation may have had an original interest in human biology and medical studies. However, Moorehouse explained that this part of biology is open to anyone with an interest.

According to Moorehouse, entomology has changed over the course of time due to technology. There has been more information available to the general public.

“I couldn’t learn entomology on my own if it wasn’t for technology,” Moorehouse said. “That’s what’s enabling me to use my skills with a camera to learn about insects. It’s been within the last decade or so that this has really taken off. It allowed all of us to learn more.”

There were two websites mentioned in the presentation that have been useful to these types of studies. With the ease of identifying and sharing bug photos online, there’s no need to kill insects which can help further grow populations.

Not only are these sites useful to those in the entomology field, but they can help educate the public. Moorehouse has even said that people move up in positions, even without degrees, due to their skills.

“A lot of us are interested in being doctors and the human perspective of biology,” freshman biology major Aylea Mendoza said. “They do host the [seminars] so we can get a broader perspective on all types of biology. Just so we can get a taste of all aspects.”

While Moorehouse is spreading her research to Bradley students, she’s also opening students’ eyes to their future career options.

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