In March this year, the Royal Entomological Society held their annual writing competition, hearing a variety of voices on a range of topics within entomology. Within the Student Essay Prize, Harper Adams students swept the board, taking home first, second, and both runner-up positions in a landslide win.
The overall winner was Tara Segwick, a MSc Entomology student, who wrote her essay based upon the idea of an insect dating app. Entitled ‘Plenty of Insects’, as a rebrand take on a well known app, the creative piece profiled a variety of insects from bed bug to bark beetle along with the right conditions to find love. Together with comic book style illustrations, the piece was factual as well as fun. The winner spoke about her love of bugs saying, “I’m particularly interested in insect reproductive behaviour so I thought it would be fun to make an insect dating site to communicate this topic.”
Coming in second was Abi Enston, another Masters Entomology student, who wrote a first person account of the ‘Zombie Antpocalypse’ where an ant was infected by the tropical entomopathogenic fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which manipulates the behaviour of its host until it’s eventually killed. Runners up were MSc Ecological Applications student Will Rennison and Ben Howarth another MSc Entomology student writing on arthropod love and insect parenting respectively. While love seemed to be in the air, each essay was unique and informative as well as giving the writers some creative liberty in their narratives.
On the students’ success, Professor of Entomology, Simon Leather said: “Our students always do very well in this competition, but this year they have exceeded all my expectations. I’m extremely proud of our students and their success, they do the course and the University great credit.”