Wild Ones to host program on beneficial and invasive insects

Staff Report

Wild Ones — Rock River Valley Chapter, will host Dr. Phil Nixon, a University of Illinois educator specializing in entomology, from the Urbana-Champaign campus, at their next meeting, 7 p.m., Thursday, May 17. This meeting will be at a new location, Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, 1354 N. Second St., Rockford.

Dr. Nixon will give a PowerPoint presentation about beneficial and invasive insects. Insects exist in balance in the various ecosystems that they inhabit. Herbivorous insects feed on plants, certain ones increasing in number as their host plants become more dominant. Plants respond by producing chemical and physical protection. Predators, parasites and diseases of plant-eating insects increase in number and impact increased insect host numbers. Humans artificially increase the numbers of certain plant species through the processes of agriculture and landscaping. Associated insects then increase in numbers, which humans call pests. These pests are partially controlled by beneficial insects, but some pests are from other ecosystems around the world. These exotic, invasive pests attack native plants that have little natural chemical and physical protection from them. They also arrive without their natural control agents. Several of these beneficial and invasive insects will be addressed. Dr. Nixon will have samples and insects to view before and after his program.

This is a partnership among Wild Ones, U of I Extension, and the Rockford Park District. If people want to enter the greenhouse before or after the program, they may pay a reduced fee of only $3. This evening program is after regulation hours for the Conservatory. People are asked to call to reserve space so the Conservatory can get a better idea of how much set-up is needed. Telephone the U of I Extension office at (815) 986-4357 or register through their website at https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=6602.

Arrive at 6:30 p.m. to socialize before the 7 p.m. meeting, and browse the merchandise tables and check out the library and Wild Ones information booths.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Terry Mohaupt at (815) 399-8432 or e-mail mohaupt@comcast.net.

From the May 16-22, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!