The Perils of Carrying a Bug Net Around Campus

by Savannah Putnam

There are few things I love more than learning about nature. This semester, my love of the outdoors has been brought into the public eye by an entomology class that requires me to catch, pin, and identify sixty or so insects before the first frost. For the first month of school our class drove us around Ames to different fields, parks, and lakes to hunt for all the insects we could find. While I loved these excursions, it put me in quite a predicament: my lab was at the end of Tuesday, and I had no time to run back to my room and grab my net between class and lab. This meant that I would have to carry my bug net from class to class, and carry my caught insects home in the handy-dandy satchel they gave us for class.

bugMe, the satchel, and The Bug Net

There have been four perilous situations that have arisen from carrying my net:

1. Strange [men] are fascinated by the net. And because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good bug net must be in want of a husband, I am constantly having people come up to me and start conversations. While this may seem like a perk, it often happens at 8am on my walk to my first class, when I’m still pretty much asleep and incapable of intelligent conversation.

2. My friends have been alerted to my nerdiness. Since the Honors building is right on my way home from lab, I tend to stop in there and showcase my findings from the day. Last week I had successfully caught two different species of praying mantids, and showed everyone how cute they were in their plastic baggies.  There were yells of “I love those!” and “ah! put those back in your satchel!” and “where did you find them??” and “you’re such a hippie.” Thankfully, in Honors nerdiness is accepted and encouraged, and a few of my friends have even brought me insects they’ve found!

3. Bug net handles can be dangerous. The other day I was talking to my favorite professor after class, and as I was going to leave I accidentally turned too quickly while he was walking and definitely whacked him with it. I was mortified, but he just laughed. Whew.

4. I have become the official bug-catcher of my sorority. Whenever there is any type of bug found in the house, I hear my name being shouted and I come running, ready with my bug net. While I love getting the extra insects, most people don’t know that spiders aren’t technically insects, and half of the time I have to just take the poor little things outside.

So before deciding to carry your own bug net around campus, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of your decision. But my last piece of advice? Catching bugs outweighs looking cool any day.

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