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Bug of the Month Dec. 2019


Reindeer Bot Fly

Hypoderma tarandi

By C. Lacombe

I have a confession. I’m not as fond of bugs as the entomologists that enthusiastically contribute to this feature. Bug of the Month now has 3 years behind it, and I am eternally grateful to Dr. Hector Carcamo and his band of merry entomologists for the insights and information they provide for this feature of our newsletter.

But, I gotta say, sometimes they make my stomach uncomfortable. Sometimes, I get caught off guard when checking my email and am suddenly confronted with a large photo of an icky bug. I’m not as queasy about bugs as some people I know, but they are not my favorite creatures.

So, like many of you I suspect, I am in awe and thankful that entomologists do enjoy studying bugs. They provide us with crucial information, and I must admit that much of what I learn doing this column is fascinating. Icky, but fascinating.

Hypoderma tarandi

This month, we decided to talk about something with a Christmas connection. Hector contacted Kateryn Rochon, Ph.D. Associate Professor – Veterinary Entomology, University of Manitoba. We asked if reindeer might be bothered by a bug and could that impact their performance Christmas Eve?

See this cute, fuzzy fly? Ya, not so much. It is a parasite of Reindeer. You can go read about The Reindeer Warble Fly

But don’t do that while eating.

I was going to name all the entomologists that contribute to Bug of the Month, but there’s at least 30 of them, probably more. They are very enthusiastic about their work and the email chains are fantastic some months. They totally brighten my day!  The moral of this story is, thank goodness we have dedicated entomologists willing to study the critters that can cause us challenges on the farm. May they forever enjoy their work and keep us in the loop!

infected criboo
A Reindeer with a parasite infection.