Posted 23 June 2014
Expect all things entomological to be the topic of conversation this week, as Harper Adams University supports a national campaign that encourages people of all ages to learn more about insects.
National Insect Week, June 23-29, takes place every two years and is organised by the Royal Entomological Society with support from organisations with interests in the science, natural history and conservation of insects.
This year, Harper Adams has taken a keen interest in the campaign, thanks to being the UK’s only provider of postgraduate courses in general and applied entomology and related areas.
Professor of Entomology, Professor Simon Leather, said: “Insects and their relatives play an important role in all of our ecosystems. They can range from beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural control agents, to essential parts of the decomposition cycle such as dung and carrion insects.
“Many are also important pests of agriculture, horticulture and forestry, in addition to those that cause human health problems.
“But there is a current skills shortage within the field of entomology. So campaigns such as this that raise awareness of the importance of insects, play a crucial role in filling that gap.
“Harper Adams is also proud to deliver a successful postgraduate course in the subject, that prepares students for an interesting and fulfilling career in an area with considerable opportunities.”
As part of the university’s support for the campaign, the Harper Adams entomologists have nominated their favourite species to become ‘Insect of the Day’, and will also be writing blogs about current research.
Tomorrow, the Entomology Resource Room, known as the EntoHub, will be officially opened - showcasing the many hundreds of specimens now available to students.
The team is also on tour at the weekend, assisting the Dorothy Clive Garden in Market Drayton with its All About Insects event. Staff, researchers and students will be manning stations on an insect trail and speaking to visitors about the work taking place at Harper Adams.
They will also be conducting the garden’s first insect surveys, to identify the species that live at the popular visitor attraction.
Professor Leather added: “We will be sharing really interesting facts and information about insects every day on the Harper Adams website and Facebook page.
“Hopefully by giving the campaign a boost in this way, we will be sharing a little of our passion for insects with the nation, perhaps changing the perception of insects and their role in day-to-day lives.”