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People University Livestream: Series 32 - Bugs and People

What do cicadas and people have in common? Both are re-emerging and re-uniting this summer.

People's University, Series 32 - Bugs and PeopleInspired by the return of Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood of periodical cicadas, the People's University at the Ohio County Public Library will offer an 8-class summer series on entomology (insect biology) called "PU Livestream: Bugs & People." The series will feature some of the best entomologists and experts from all over North America to teach attendees about the six major insect orders, as well as the history of human and insect interaction, a subject known as cultural entomology.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions still affecting in-person library gatherings, the series will remain an online livestream, which facilitates the nationwide, prestigious faculty.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about insects while becoming eligible to win various insect-related prizes through interaction with the instructors. 

View the class broadcasts below. 

People's University Livestream Bugs and People - Summer 2021 - Thursdays at 6:30 pm
Class descriptions and faculty biographies are listed below. Recordings of classes that have already broadcast can also be viewed below. 

Week 1 - May 27, 2021:
CLASS 1: Brood X Cicada-Mania, Part 1

CLASS 1 — May 27 at 6:30 pm:
Brood X Cicada-Mania, Part 1
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: An introduction to insects in general and where cicadas fit in the Class Insecta aspects of insect biology, using cicadas, a superfamily, the Cicadoidea, of insects in the order Hemiptera (true bugs), as the example. This will set the stage as an introduction for our series.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Gene KritskyInstructor Bio: Dr. Gene Kritsky is dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences and a biology professor at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, OH. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois. Editor of American Entomologist, he has authored or edited 10 books and over 250 papers on subjects as diverse as entomology, Egyptology, dinosaur biology, and insect mythology. He is the author of The Tears of Re: Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt, and The Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition, 2021.

Week 2 - June 3, 2021:
CLASS 2: Brood X Cicada-Mania, Part 2

CLASS 2 — June 3 at 6:30 pm:
Brood X Cicada-Mania, Part 2
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: This class will focus exclusively on the 17-year, periodical cicadas known as Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood, order Hemiptera (true bugs), and their unique life cycle and history. Brood X is due to return this summer and a small colony exists in Wheeling.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Gene KritskyInstructor Bio: Dr. Gene Kritsky is dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences and a biology professor at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, OH. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois. Editor of American Entomologist, he has authored or edited 10 books and over 250 papers on subjects as diverse as entomology, Egyptology, dinosaur biology, and insect mythology. He is the author of The Tears of Re: Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt, and The Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition, 2021.

Help track BroodX with Dr. Kritsky's Cicada Safari App!

Download the Cicada Safari App to help track local Brood X sitings. Join Cicada Safari to help map the 2021 emergence of the periodical cicada Brood X.  Simply download the free app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, then go on a safari to find periodical cicadas.  Photograph and submit the periodical cicadas to Cicada Safari, and after the photos are verified, they will be posted to the live map. Cicada Safari was created by Dr. Gene Kritsky working with the Center for IT Engagement at  Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.

A small colony of Brood X cicadas has been reported in the Wheeling area as far back as 1919. Help us locate an emergence this year and help put Wheeling on the 2021 map. 

Learn more on the Cicada Safari website at

Week 3 - June 10, 2021:
CLASS 3: A First Look at  Insect Evolution and Orthoptera Identification

CLASS 3 — June 10 at 6:30 pm:
A First Look at  Insect Evolution and Orthoptera Identification
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: An exploration of the evolution of insects, from their origins with crabs and brine shrimp, to giant insects during the Carboniferous, to modern insects and their relatives. We will take a quick tour of arthropods, including spiders, mites, millipedes, and the "basal" insect orders like mayflies and dragonflies. We will then pause at grasshoppers and katydids to discuss locust plagues, plant mimicry, and the predators that hunt using cricket chirps. Finally, we will learn some local species of Orthoptera from OH, PA, and WV. 

➤ View full class details

Instructor Dr. Elizabeth RowenInstructor Bio: Dr. Elizabeth Rowen earned her PhD in Entomology at Penn State, where she studied the effects of soil management techniques on herbivores and their predators. She is now a Service Assistant Professor at WVU in the Division of Plant and Soil Science, where she works with the Insect Zoo, teaches entomology, and researches the connections between insects, plants, and soil.

Week 4 - June 17, 2021:
CLASS 4: An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

CLASS 4 — June 17 at 6:30 pm:
An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: This engaging and colorful overview of beetles, one of the largest and most diverse group of animals on earth, will cover their distinctive physical features, biology, and natural history, then explore beetles in light of their coevolution with plants and other organisms, as well as the complex history of beetle and human interactions. All too often dismissed as pests, beetles are essential for the proper functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, have long influenced popular culture, and provide countless scientific insights and technological inspirations.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Dr. Art EvansInstructor Bio: Dr. Art Evans earned his PhD in entomology at University of Pretoria, South Africa. He’s an adjunct professor at Randolph-Macon College, University of Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth University where he teaches Entomology and Insect & Humans. He is also a Research Associate at the Smithsonian and the Virginia Natural History Museum. Dr. Evans has published 40 scientific papers on scarab beetles, as well as over 100 articles and books on insects and spiders, including An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles. His next book, Field Guide to Beetles of Western North America, will be published this August.

Help the DNR track Lightning Bugs in WV!

Firefly sightings reported in WV in 2019 and 2020In an effort to understand declining lightning bug populations, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is inviting the public to participate in a citizen science project to track sightings of them in the state. West Virginia has up to 40 species of lightning bugs that may have declined in number because of habitat loss, pesticide use, and other environmental causes, such as light pollution, but can still be seen in fields and forests after sunset during the summer.

West Virginia residents can be part of the conservation efforts and participate in the survey of lightning bugs by going outside, looking for lightning bugs, and reporting the location of the sightings online. Using the hashtag #lightupwestvirginia or #lightupWV you can also share photos and basic info and it may be included on the WVDNR Facebook page to celebrate World Firefly Day on July 3-4, an annual event in July.

Learn more at Light Up West Virginia: A citizen science survey of lightning bugs, fireflies, and glow-worms.

Week 5 - June 24, 2021:
CLASS 5: Pollinators and Stingers — The Hymenoptera Order

CLASS 5 — June 24 at 6:30 pm:
Pollinators and Stingers — The Hymenoptera Order
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: With more than 150,000 species of sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants, Hymenoptera is one of the largest and most interesting orders of insects. This class will examine the vital contributions of threatened species like the honeybee to human survival, as well as some of the dangers presented by other species within Hymenoptera.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Dr. W. Franklin EvansInstructor Bio: Dr. W. Franklin Evans is the new president of West Liberty University. He earned his B.S. in Entomology/Biology and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He has published many articles in academic journals and delivered numerous presentations on the subjects of executive leadership; Black leadership; and education. He is excited about returning to his entomological roots to instruct this class.

Help track bumble bees across North America!

Bumble Bee Watch

North American bumble bees need your help! Because these animals are widely distributed the best way to keep track of them is with a group of volunteers across the country equipped with cameras. With any luck, you might help find remnant populations of rare species before they go extinct. Participating in Bumble Bee Watch is simple and you can get started now by creating an account via the “sign in” tab at the top of the page or by downloading the phone app (Apple Store download or Google Play download). Once you have an account, go out and check your garden, in parks, or any other natural areas you frequent for bumble bees. Be sure to snap a photo (learn more about how to photograph bees here) and then sign in and submit your data via our Bumble Bee Sightings form. Have fun while learning more about bumble bees and the vital role they play in our environment!

Other ways you can help:
- Create habitat! You can find more information about how to create bumble bee habitat at
- Support local and organic agriculture. Many pesticides are harmful to bumblebee colonies and many vegetable and fruit plants provide great food sources for bees.
- Spread the word! Many people are afraid of bumble bees and other insects. Let your friends and family know how important they are and encourage them to take photos too!

Week 6 - July 1, 2021:
CLASS 6: Diptera: Flies, Midges, and Mosquitoes — Contributions & Dangers

CLASS 6 — July 1 at 6:30 pm:
Diptera: Flies, Midges, and Mosquitoes — Contributions & Dangers
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: Insects influence our lives in innumerable positive ways, such as pollination, decomposition of organic matter, and food chain links for other animals. Insects can also be dangerous and even deadly to humans. This has been brought to the forefront with the spread of the Zika and West Nile viruses by mosquitoes. Dr. Michael Strand will talk about the diverse and fascinating biology of insects in the order Diptera, which are commonly referred to as flies. While some flies like mosquitoes can adversely affect humans, many others are beneficial to our planet.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Michael R. Stand, PhDInstructor Bio: Michael R. Strand, PhD., is H.M. Pulliam Chair, Department of Entomology, at the University of Georgia, where he has been a professor since 2001. Prior to moving to Georgia he was a Professor of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 14 years. Dr. Strand's research laboratory features a team of researchers with various backgrounds who investigate many areas under the broad umbrella of Insect Physiology. Results of the team's findings are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and shared via presentations at scientific meetings and seminars around the world.

Help track disease-carrying mosquitoes with crowd-sourced acoustic surveillance!

Mosquitoes can be deadly, transmitting malaria, dengue, and Zika. But tracking them is tough. Now, researchers—led by bioengineer Manu Prakash of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California—have developed a new, cheap way to monitor these insects with mobile phones and a Shazam-like app that tells them apart based on their “songs.” Most mosquito species can be identified by the frequency of their wingbeats, so the web app—aptly named Abuzz—lets users upload recordings of mosquito sounds, identify the species, and map its location. But getting a good recording can be tricky: The insect cannot be more than 10 centimeters away from the microphone, and background noise cannot be louder than light traffic. Learn more on Standford's Abuzz webpage.

Lunch With Books Special! - July 6, 2021:
JULY 6, 2021 at noon:
The World of the Mantis and the Premiere of the Mantis Cam!

Lunch With Books — July 6 at noon:
Butterflies and Moths: Metamorphosis, Migrations, and Monitorings
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: Most people are familiar with the triangular heads, alien-like eyes, long slender bodies, long folded arms, and green hue of the ambush predator commonly known as the “praying mantis.” These are typically of the European and Chinese varieties common in the United States, which are actually invasive species. Mantises have been part of human culture, art, and myth since ancient times. 

➤ View full calendar event details

Presenter Bio: OCPL staff member Nayt Knapp is an insect enthusiast. Specifically, he is a big fan of the order Mantodea, better known as Mantises. The order features more than 2,400 species living all over the globe in temperate zones.

In this conversation, Nayt will address questions about mantises, including: How long do they live? What do they eat? What's sexual cannibalism? Can they fly? Are they dangerous to humans? How smart are they? Do they make good pets? Is it illegal to kill one? Nayt will also tell us all about the exciting new Mantis-CAM and Vivarium exhibit at the library.


We now have two female Chinese Mantis nymphs living in our habitats at the library. One is brown and one is green. You can watch them grow online! Our Mantis-CAM and vivarium will be on display inside the main entrance of the Library starting the week of July 6. In the meantime, you can watch our baby mantises preparing to molt from the safety of our office prior to the move into a fully functioning vivarium in a public setting where Library guests and patrons can come and see our growing mantises in person during regular library hours. The Mantis-CAM will live stream 24-hours a day allowing anybody anywhere to check in on our mantises anytime!


What you are viewing above is a live stream feed of one of our baby mantises. You might not see too much movement immediately, but if you have patience and wait a bit, you might notice a fruit fly flicker by, or our mantis expanding and contracting its abdomen, or even doing a little dance. You might even be lucky enough to catch our mantis feeding (that's what the fruit flies are for) or molting—how cool is that! Check in often and watch our mantises grow with us, then stop by the Library starting July 6 to see them in person. 
View our Mantis-CAM anytime at

Our mantises need names! That's where you come in. Use this FORM to send us your name nominations.

On July 15 at our final PU Livestream Bugs & People, we will choose the winners! In addition to the honor of naming the first two OCPL Mantis-Cam Mantises, the winners will receive a fabulous Mantis-Themed gift and a gift certificate to a local restaurant!

Week 7 - July 8, 2021:
CLASS 7: Butterflies and Moths: Metamorphosis, Migrations, and Monitorings

CLASS 7 — July 8 at 6:30 pm:
Butterflies and Moths: Metamorphosis, Migrations, and Monitorings
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: Lepidopterans, moths and butterflies, are some of the best-loved and most charismatic insects on the planet. Butterflies capture the imagination of people from all over the world, which makes them excellent candidates for engaging citizen scientists and casual observers. This talk will provide a basic overview of butterflies and moths, will touch on the epic monarch migration, and will provide information on ways anyone can get involved in current butterfly science.

➤ View full class details

Instructor Kathryn HokampInstructor Bio: Kathryn Hokamp, former Lepidopterist at Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado, Entomologist at Houston Museum of Natural Science, and coordinator of the Texas Butterfly Monitoring Network, specializes in the husbandry of Lepidoptera, a major insect order that includes about 180,000 species of butterflies and moths. Kathryn is a 2016 graduate of Rice University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is interested in citizen science as a research tool, particularly with regard to butterflies, moths, and other insects.

Help track the migration of monarch butterflies!

Help track monarch butterfly through the Journey North websiteIn its 25th year, Journey North is one of North America’s premiere citizen science programs for people of all ages. The project has broad participation, with over 60,000 registered sites in the US, Canada, and Mexico — including families, teachers, schools, nature centers, professional scientists, and novices. Journey North provides an easy entry point to citizen science, with simple protocols, strong online support, and immediate results. Reported sightings are mapped in real-time as waves of migrations move across the continent. People report sightings from the field, view maps, take pictures, and leave comments.

Create an account with Journey North to report your monarch butterfly sightings at

Week 8 - July 15, 2021:
CLASS 8: A History of Bugs & People: — Cultural Entomology

CLASS 8 — July 15 at 6:30 pm:
A History of Bugs & People: — Cultural Entomology
Watch live on YouTube or Facebook

Abstract: Eric R. Eaton, lead author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, will examine how we create insect pests, for example by introducing them from overseas, labeling them as such when they really are not pests, and how our scale of agriculture drives pest abundance. Insects are also human food, inspire art and literature, inspire inventions, and produce chemicals important to medicine, etc. Insects are vital to our human survival, much like the living seas, and other aspects of the ecosystem. 

➤ View full class details

Instructor Eric R. EatonInstructor Bio: Eric R. Eaton is lead author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America; and author of Wasps: The Astonishing Diversity of a Misunderstood Insect. He has written articles about insects for several magazines. Mr. Eaton studied entomology at Oregon State University, and has worked as a professional entomologist at the University of Massachusetts and Cincinnati Zoo, as well as on private contract for the Smithsonian and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. As "Bug Eric," he has built a loyal following on social media and as a blogger and is a leading figure in popular entomology.

See full Instructor Bios and Class Abstracts, visit: Click on “Events.


As part of our People's U Livestream: Bugs & People summer series, the Library has commissioned Wheeling artist Bob Villamagna—the WV Tinman—to make a work of art based on the re-emergence of the Brood X or Great Eastern Brood of periodical cicadas, which are starting to re-emerge this summer. Villamagna,  name the 2016 West Virginia Artist of the Year, is a popular mixed-media artist who uses repurposed lithographed metals, found objects, and vintage photographs to create colorful and whimsical pieces. People's University viewers and supporters will have the chance to be entered into a drawing to win Bob's artwork or other prizes, such as #BroodPU tee shirts, tote bags, or coffee mugs, gift certificates to local restaurants, or insect-related books. 


Cicada Yourself For the Villamagna Artwork and Other Prizes

In light of the long quarantine from which we are just starting to emerge thanks to vaccines, we thought the periodical cicadas' epic journey made a nice metaphor for what we humans are all experiencing. The time has come to emerge from your home, find your wings, and fly! Starting now and running through and including July 15, anyone can come to the library, find the giant 8-foot cicada wings, take a photo or ask library staff to take one in front of the wings, post it with the hashtag "BroodPU," or tag the Ohio County Public Library, OR, email the photo directly to the library for posting, and be entered into our drawing to win the Bob V. artwork and other prizes. 

Cicada Yourself for a chance to win an original piece of artwork by West Virginia's own Tinman, Bob Villmagna.

Bug Your Pug or Gnat Your Cat!

You can become eligible to win #BroodPU tee shirts, tote bags, or coffee mugs, gift certificates to local restaurants, or insect-related books -- plus pet treats! -- by dressing your pet like an insect, taking a photo, posting it, and tagging the Ohio County Public Library, OR, emailing the photo directly to the library for posting. Library staff will choose their favorites and contact the winners to send out the prizes!

Bug or Pug or Gnat Your Cat for a chance to win prizes!

Tune in to our Live Broadcasts

Ask a topic-relevant question to one of our presenters during one of our live broadcast to be entered into a drawing for BROODPU merch. Win a t-shirt, canvas book bag, coffee mug, cicada pin, and more! 

People's University: Bugs and People, Thursday nights from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on YouTube and Facebook Live

- People's University Online-
Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on YouTube Live and Facebook Live

Subscribe to the People's University Youtube channel or like us on the People's University Facebook page or to receive notifications of our upcoming People's U broadcasts. To receive emails about our upcoming programs, visit our News page, click the "Subscribe" button to sign-up for our news blasts or download our free OCPL Connect app from your smartphone's app store. 

Like  People's University  on Facebook to keep up with all the latest LWB news and events!Subscribe to our People's University YouTube Channel

Also, make sure to check back in the weeks to come for information on a field trip to be scheduled the week after our last class. 

Library staff member Nayt Knapp, a praying mantis breeder, will lead us on a field trip where we can use our new-found knowledge to identify local insects. 

What is the People's University?

In 1951, the Ohio County Public Library's head librarian, Virginia Ebeling, referenced British historian Thomas Carlyle, who said, “the public library is a People’s University,” when she initiated a new adult education program with that name. Miss Ebeling charged the Library with the responsibility of reaching “as many people in the community as possible.” In keeping with that tradition of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library revived the series in 2010.

The People’s University is a free program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts. It features courses—taught by experts in each subject—that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, philosophy, and science. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. For more information about PU Livestream, Bugs & People, EMAIL US,  visit or call the library at 304-232-0244.

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