Illinois Natural History Survey

Illinois Natural History Survey have their own home page and if you want to know more about these books you can visit them at though note you will need to use the search engine to find the books and the Field Guide to Longhorns was not listed when I checked on 21 June 1997



The Titles

Field Guide to Northeastern Longhorned Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), Illinois Natural History Survey Manual 6, by Douglas Yanega.
Pests Have Enemies Too Teaching Young Scientists about Biological Control, by Michael R. Jeffords and Audrey S. Hodgins.
How to Collect and Preserve Insects By, Kathleen R. Methven, Michael R. Jeffords, Richard A. Weinzierl and Kathryn C. McGiffen

The Reviews

How to Collect and Preserve Insects

Kathleen R. Methven, Michael R. Jeffords, Richard A. Weinzierl and Kathryn C. McGiffen.

US ISSN = 0888 9546
Price = $6.00 US
Published = 1995
Review written = 11/Jan/1998
76 pages Spring Bound

This is a gentle introduction to the sometimes complicated seeming world of practical entomology. Aimed primarily at the young novice entomologist or ' Bug Hunter ' it simple straight forward language makes it useful for beginners of all ages.

The book commences with an introduction to insects in general, after which it is divided into 3 sections. Part (i) deals with collecting insects. It details the various methods commonly used and gives instructions on how to make your own equipment. Though making your own equipment is often a useful and practical idea personal experience suggests that for some things like the basic hand-net you are better off simply buying one.
I was slightly surprised to see that the section on light trapping included only attracting the insects into a killing bottle and nothing on live trapping. In my experience most insects caught at light can be released while only 1 or 2 specimens of each new species or variant need to be kept for the collection. Light trapping to live capture is the norm as far as I am aware and I recommend that anyone interested in light trapping read A Guide to Moth Traps and There Use, by R. Fry and P. Waring.

Section (ii) deals with preserving insects and gives a good account of the methods used, I was again surprised at the insistence that only ethyl alcohol should be used, here in the UK at least ethyl alcohol is almost impossible to get hold of outside of an academic or research institute and is prohibitively expensive. Seventy percent methyl alcohol with 5 percent glycerol would be a suitable substitute. Section (iii) deals with identifying insects and includes an introduction to the different life cycles and a summary of the various orders. It does not include a key.

This is a lovelly little book and could well be used to launch an interested child into a hobby that may well one day become a profession. Recommended

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Pests Have Enemies Too

Teaching Young Scientists about Biological Control, by Michael R. Jeffords and Audrey S. Hodgins.

US ISSN = 0888 9546
Price = $4.50 US
Published = 1995
Review written = 11/Jan/1998
64 pages A4
includes an A1 poster designed to be coloured in, extra poster are available at $3.50 US for 30

Designed as a teaching aid course in, or that include, ' Biological Control ' this pleasant little booklet is composed of 2 sections. The first is a series of small chapters introducing the concepts behind and relating to B.C. . This section is well written and of itself would be a worthwhile possession for any school. The second and larger section is a ' Students Activities Section ' which as the name suggests is a series of activities designed to allow students the learning experience that comes with play. This section contains not only the expected games relating to terminology and ' who eats who ' but also a good introduction to the more difficult concepts of ' Density Dependence ' and ' Population Dynamics ' . The final 2 sections, ' Dear Sir Madam ' and ' Media Blitz ' focus the students mind on the important and already discussed social complexities associated with B.C..

Chapter headings include:- Introduction for Teachers; What is Biological Control; What is a Pest; Why is Insect and Plant Biology so important to Biological Pest Control; Why Use Biological Control; Why has Biological Control Developed Slowly; Natural Control: is it the Balance of Nature; What are the Types of Biological Control; Biological Control: Is it Ethical; Why is Biological Control not used more; What Constitutes a Biological Control Program; When is a Pest not a Pest; Biomath; Density-dependant Drama, Population Dynamics: A Simulation Game; Choose Your Enemies Carefully.

This is the first book of this kind that I have seen and I must admit that I am impressed. Personally I would like to see this book in every school in the world, the message it contains is crucially important and the help it offers teachers with a difficult task is invaluable. Perhaps the best value for money I have so far reviewed.

Highly Recommended

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ISBN = 1 882932 01 3
Price = $15.00 US including P&P
Published = 1997
Review written = 21/June/1997
174 pages
32 colour plates

Longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) are one of the more easily recognisable groups of beetles, and being relatively large, the349 species covered by this book range from 3mm to 59 mm in body length, they make an excellent group for the aspiring coleopterist to begin with. This book covering the most densely humanly populated 1/4 to 1/3 of North America will be of great value to many people wishing to learn more about these attractive animals. The book has been designed with the non-entomologist in mind, and in this I praise it, I wish more field guides were as intelligently thought out as this one. With every species featured on the colour plates, often including both male and female, and with the identification notes on the pages opposite the colour plates this book is very easy to use. The species synopses, giving broad distributional information, flight times, larval food plants where known and additional identification tips combined with a 20 page introduction to all you need to know to get started studying Longhorns makes this an excellent book.

This book, detailing as it does the number of species in this area for which the larval food plant is not known, combined with the ease it brings to identification should lead K12 teachers to consider Longhorns as useful material for for class surveys and long term experiments. All in all a very valuable book that should give a significant boost to the study of Cerambycids in Northeastern America.

Highly Recommended

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