A periodical cicada. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Nearly 200,000 people downloaded an app, Cicada Safari, created by researchers to track observations of Brood X. Scientists will be reaping the rewards of that communal effort for years to come.

A lymantria dispar caterpillar, awaiting its new common name. (Feliciano Moya Lopez / Pixabay)

Moths have been nabbing international headlines of late, thanks to a declaration by the Entomological Society of America that the gypsy moth is no more. The destructive insect hasn’t gone extinct, but it’s common name has been mothballed.

An Atlas moth dispels the myth that moths are drab. (Bar Bus / Pixabay)

They are often thought of as a nondescript bugs — or even pests — and are misunderstood in large part because of their nocturnal behavior. But moths are excellent pollinators and play a key role in the food web. Here’s what else you should know about moths’ incredible diversity.

Periodical cicadas are identifiable by their red eyes. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Spicy popcorn cicadas, anyone? Not so fast, the Food and Drug Administration warns, if you have a shellfish allergy. The insects are related to shrimp and lobster. 

White clover lawns are a buffet for pollinators, especially bees. (zoosnow / Pixabay)

Clover was once commonly included in lawn seed mixes, but then gained a reputation as a weed. It’s time, horticulturalists say, to revisit clover’s environmental benefits.

Periodical cicadas are identifiable by their red eyes. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Reports that millions of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground in the Chicago area this spring aren’t true. They’re coming in 2024. 

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

From a sociological perspective, we rake because no one wants to be the neighbor with the messy lawn, but ecologically speaking, the benefits of a little mess outweigh the merits of a pristine yard.

In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, the queen bee (marked in green) and worker bees move around a hive at the Veterans Affairs in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola, File)

American honeybee colonies have bounced back after a bad year, the annual beekeeping survey finds.

The bumble bee is one of hundreds of species of bees native to Illinois. (Judy Gallagher / Flickr)

The United Nations created World Bee Day to raise awareness of these pollinators and the threats they face. The honey bee may get all the glory, but there are 400-500 species of bees native to Illinois. 

In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a dead Asian giant hornet is photographed in a lab in Olympia, Wash. (Quinlyn Baine / Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP)

The world’s largest hornet, a 2-inch killer dubbed the “Murder Hornet” with an appetite for honey bees, has been found in Washington state, where entomologists were making plans to wipe it out.


It’s a job as old as time, but one Chicagoan is beekeeping in her own unique way. Meet graphic designer-turned-beekeeper Jana Kinsman.

A rusty-patched bumble bee (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been a rough few decades for the rusty patched bumblebee. Once widespread in Illinois and throughout much of the U.S., the species has lost nearly 90% of its population over the past 20 years.

A bumblebee lands on a flower. (Courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden)

Pollinating animals account for an estimated one out of every three bites of food humans eat. “Bees & Beyond” explains how the process works, traces its evolutionary history and demonstrates its impact on our daily lives.

Northwestern's Paul CaraDonna studied the impact of increased temperatures on mason bees. (Jack Dykinga / Northwestern University)

Slight increases in temperature could lead to the extinction of bees in southwestern states in the near future, according to a new study from Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

A ladybug eats an aphid, a common garden pest. (John Flannery / Flickr)

Not all bugs found in vegetable and ornamental gardens are harmful to plants. In fact, some of them help get rid of common pests. Find out which make the "good" and "bad" lists.

May Berenbaum and Barack Obama

National Medal of Science recipient May Berenbaum is an expert in the interaction of insects with plants, the founder of an annual insect-themed film festival, and the namesake of an X-Files character and new species of cockroach. She joins us on Chicago Tonight.