Lady Beetle Short Course
The International Organization for Biological Control held a 4-d workshop aimed at training students in the natural history and biology of lady beetles, an economically important group of beneficial insects. The course was held from June 25-28, 2013 and attracted students and scientists from around the world. Students represented six states and three countries (Uruguay, Colombia, and the United States), with a diversity of experiences and skills. A module-based approach was used to pair lectures (given by world leaders in particular areas) with hands-on activities that could only be run at a location like Richardson Wildlife Foundation, with its diversity of habitats and incredible biodiversity. Topics covered included the systematics, diet, movement, chemical ecology, and seasonal and diel activity patterns of this important group of insects, as well as their interactions with other organisms like ants. Students conducted projects ranging from protein-marking/ELISA to study lady beetle movement, use of chemical lures to attract lady beetles, an experiment on ant-coccinellid interactions, nocturnal predation observations, and examining preserved specimens of this group from around the world. Terry Moyer gave a fascinating introduction to prairie ecology and the history of the Foundation. The instructors for the course were John Obrycki (University of Kentucky), Natalia Vandenberg (Systematic Entomology Laboratory), Ted Evans (Utah State University), Beth Choate (Allegheny College), and Jonathan Lundgren (USDA-ARS, Brookings, SD).