Crawling into entomology

Crawling into entomology

Rachel Weathers, Memorial Editor

Many people experience entomophobia, or more simply stated, a fear of insects. It is even estimated that 25 percent of the world’s population has this aversion. However, for those that do not, some may acquire an interest in learning about insects and understanding their importance. Over the last three years, the Edmond Entomology team through Future Farmers of America (FFA) has amassed enough knowledge to identify insects, common names and mouthparts.

For senior Madi Moore, her interest in entomology began by joining FFA the previous year and having an introductory level of awareness regarding a class of joint-legged invertebrate animals. This sparked the creation of the entomology team. 

“I was asked by my agriculture teacher simply because I knew that a spider was an arachnid,” Moore said. “I had no other knowledge at the time.”

After joining the entomology team, the members discovered the team went beyond learning about insects. It became a way to meet others and find a passion in something that some may view as obscure. 

“I realized I enjoyed it when I found out what it meant,” Moore said. “Entomology meant creating friendships, learning about something others would describe as unpleasant and even finding something to pursue in life.”

As there are 150 insects each member of an entomology team must study, one may develop a favorite insect as they learn about their unique characteristics. 

“My favorite thing I learned would be that the velvet ant will lay its eggs in a wasp nest and the babies kill the wasps in it,” senior Ryley Hall said. 

Entomology involves a competition element through Career and Leadership Development Events (CDE). These contests allow teams to test their knowledge and hopefully make it to the state or national level. To potentially achieve this, the team meets to study as several components must be memorized. Over time, each team member has developed their study habits and found what works best for them. This helped the team place second at last year’s state competition. 

“We practice once a week for an hour and a half and also tend to study outside of the competition room,” Hall said. “Figuring out how to study and memorize everything was the most challenging aspect. It took a while, but I realized that the best for me was doing quizzes on Quizlet.”

Each competition assesses competitors on a range of topics and allows them to put their knowledge to the test.  

“First, we meet together with the other CDE teams and are then led to a classroom with boxes full of pinned bugs,” Moore said. “Then, we have a multiple choice quiz over pesticides and related topics.” 

As Edmond is in the last nine weeks of school, the seniors’ time on the team is coming to a close. However, they wish to leave behind a lasting impact on the entomology program and forge a path for others to follow.

“I hope to leave a legacy that continues entomology. It’s such a great CDE and yet it’s rare for someone to levitate towards it,” Moore said. “Being able to pass the torch is exciting to me.”. 

Taking part in entomology as what solely started as a hobby later revealed a significant passion that both Hall and Moore plan to continue their involvement in while attending Oklahoma State University next fall.  

“I plan on studying entomology in college as my major with a forensic path, hoping to end up becoming a forensic entomologist,” Hall said. 

Entomology has greatly impacted the members of the team’s lives from hours spent learning the material to the accomplishments they have achieved and the relationships that have formed. 

“It has given me friendships I hope that will stick forever and gave me a place where I felt like I belonged,” Hall said.

Contact Rachel Weathers at [email protected]