If you aren’t a major bug nerd, you may not know what goes on at a big scientific meeting like the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. It is the largest insect meeting in the world. There are usually ≈4000 insect scientists of all kinds, from every continent. (Except Antartica. But if I’m wrong, let me know!)
Unfortunately, it’s not anything like a science fiction convention. Nearly everyone is in suits, and it’s a time to make professional networking connections and present your research. There are organized symposia about some topics I’m really interested in–the way in which media has covered Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees, for example. Multiple bed bug symposia. I’ll be sure to report back about those topics, as long as I’m not revealing anything that seems to be publication bound.
Titles of talks or papers usually have formal names like “Update on medical consequences of bed bug biting,” although sometimes you get a bit more humor; I liked this one: “To Baetidae or not to Baetidae: comprehensive phylogeny of baeitid mayflies.”
Talks start at 8:00 AM and run until 9:00 PM at night. For 4 days. By the end you just feel like your brain is swollen.
It’s also a great time to hang out, talk to old friends, and commune with bug people. I’ll be distributing “I am Bug Girl” stickers in the spirit of “I am Spartacus” in order to:
- Confuse the issue on just who Bug Girl is; and
- Help bloggers and blog fans find each other at a huge meeting!
There will also be a Bug Blogger/Friends of Bug Blogs party Tuesday night; check out the Facebook Event Page for more details once we get on the ground in Reno and scope out venue and liquid refreshment options.
If you are an undergrad or a graduate student attending ESA for the first time: DON’T BE SHY! Seriously, entomologists are fairly laid back, even if they do insist on wearing suits. Anyone with an official ribbon–even the ESA President–will make time to talk to you. If you see someone with an “I am Bug Girl” sticker, odds are good they also are a good person to ask questions of as well. Don’t sit alone when you have meals–ever! That is a great time to sit down next to someone and start a conversation.
I’ll be revealing the winner of the Ribald Tales of Entomology Limerick Contest later this week, as well as other updates.