I find this conversation a bit troubling. One of the problems our community has is explaining to the public (and our administrators) why we should exist. Most of the public is woefully informed about science and biology in general and desperately need real information from a human being trained in entomology. Not some website that may or may not have been written by someone from Mars. I can't see why answering questions like this should be a problem, in fact I think its our responsibility if we are publicly funded.


From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Christopher Carlton <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2016 3:33:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Scary Wasps and Stings

Oddly, in contrast to Mike I's opinions about the matter, the extension professionals here at LSU are directed to forward diagnostic requests to the Curator or to me, and I know it works that way elsewhere, though obviously not everywhere. And, yes, we do deal with worried members of the public who get stung or bitten by animals with jointed appendages, or think they have. The folks Mike F. is talking about don't take kindly to being referred to someone else for administrative reasons. This feeds their darkest suspicions about lazy college professors and their minions. I can see his point in attempting to consolidate useful information into one place for fast and easy knowledge transfer, which people do take kindly to.

Purely curatorial positions at land grant institutions are uncommon. More often they include diagnostic responsibilities. Certainly, diagnostics and dealing with the public is a substantial part of my job that that of our Curator. We are not extension, but we are professionals.

Chris Carlton, Ph. D.
Benjamin Holton Professor of Agriculture
Director, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum
President, Coleopterists Society
Department of Entomology, LSB-404
110 Union Sq., Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1710<>

From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael A. Ivie <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2016 3:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Scary Wasps and Stings


I strongly agree with Lu on this -- you are at a land grant university with an extension program employing professionals to deal with the public.  Let the professionals deal with this.  These wackos are not going to enjoy what they will see as your condescension, cute jabs, and dismissive remarks, as much as we in the in-group do.  In their minds they are fully engaged as dedicated parents defending their offspring from death and disfigurement, and you are being inappropriate.  They will be neither amused nor educated.  Plus, your treatment of allergic response could be a problem, past lack of allergic response is not a predictor of future reactions.  All you need is one problem to bring a crazy lawyer down on your head.  Since there are professionals already at Clemson paid to do this stuff, not passing inquiries to them means something (pick any unfinished curatorial task, there are always unfinished curatorial tasks) that you really need to get done is being neglected while extension work is being duplicated unnecessarily.


On 4/24/2016 4:08 AM, Musetti, Luciana wrote:
I refer every such request to OSU Extension Entomology.

Luciana Musetti, PhD | Curator

[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> |<>

The Ohio State University | Triplehorn Insect Collection | 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212-1157 | Office 614-292-2730 | Fax 614-292-7774

On Apr 23, 2016, at 7:03 PM, Mike Ferro <<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:

I just got a frantic email from distraught parents begging for an identification of a monster they just discovered in their lawn that is certain to be the death of their precious doe-eyed child. They were desperate to know: What is it and how do we murder it?

We all get these emails, but do you guys have a standard (prewritten, copy and paste) response concerning stinging insects, or do you provide a custom answer every time?

I'm putting together a rough draft of a standard statement about stinging insects that I would include with (or within) stinging insect ID requests. I've included it below. Any thoughts/ideas?




Scared of getting stung by a bee or wasp?

Visit the links below for information and advice. The following is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Background Information:
Only female insects can sting. Stinging is expensive and dangerous for the insect (they only have so much venom, and don't want to get close to you), she doesn't "want" to sting you. Insects only sting when they feel threatened. If you get stung you may have accidentally gotten too close to a nest or accidentally brushed against her.

Are you "Allergic"?
A lot of people say they are "Allergic" to bee and wasp stings. What kind of reaction do you have?

Systemic, Allergic, Life Threatening: About 2 out of 1000 people are allergic (hypersensitive) to bee/wasp/scorpion stings ( , For these people a bee sting can be life threatening. A severe reaction includes vomiting, shortness of breath/inability to breath, stomach cramps, unconsciousness, etc. Allergic people may have a major reaction to pretty much ANY sting, whether from a giant scary wasp, a boring little ant, or a helpful honey bee.

Local Reactions: For most of us the sting hurts, we experience local swelling (e.g., a few inches around the sting, half an arm, etc.), redness, etc. Generally the swelling subsides in a few minutes to hours and the pain goes away. Amazingly, the average person (adult or child) could tolerate more than 100 bee stings and not die (but it wouldn't be fun, either!).

Fun fact: There is an entomologist who created a sting pain index by letting things sting him and then rating the pain ( He just wrote a book, The Sting of the Wild (<>

In my experience getting stung is 1) a rare event, 2) not fun, 3) but not the end of the world, 4) helps place minor aches and pains in perspective, and 5) results in an important increase in awareness of one's surroundings.

Good sites to get more information about insect stings:

Michael L. Ferro
Collection Manager, Clemson University Arthropod Collection (CUAC)
Dept. of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
MAIL: 277 Poole Agricultural Center
OFFICE: 307 Long Hall
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> (preferred)
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject Editor: The Coleopterists Bulletin; Insecta Mundi


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

US Post Office Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
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1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
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(406) 994-4610 (voice)
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