Day of Insects

2020 Day of Insects

Celebrating an Annual Day of Insects

Reiman Gardens is so enthusiastic about insects that we set aside a special day just for them every year. Our annual Day of Insects brings together professionals, academics, advocates and enthusiasts of all levels from across the country to explore and celebrate entomology (the study of insects). Topics often include insects native to Iowa, exotic insects, endangered insects, conservation efforts and new educational programs aimed at advancing the appreciation of all invertebrates.

Events are open to anyone interested and also include informal time for food and socialization on the night before the Day of Insects, and snacks and lunch during the day.

Again this year we will be offering workshops on Friday afternoon on invertebrate related topics for those interested in attending.   Individuals can participate in the workshops regardless if they are attending any of the other DOI activities.

Individuals that are in town early the night before we will have an opening reception. Come be casual, enjoy dinner, get to know other insect enthusiasts, there’s more of us than you think.  Anyone attending DOI can sign up to attend the reception and there will be some slots made available for individuals unable to attend DOI so they can participate as well.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE FOR DAY OF INSECTS.  Attendees must register by March 19, 2020.  When you click the link above make sure to select all items you want to participate in before clicking the “view cart” option. 

WORKSHOPS (Friday, March 27)
*Each workshop has a 20 person limit.

12:00 – 5:00 p.m. –  “Mountain Midges to Muscoids: Diversity and identification of Diptera”  Presented by Greg Courtney, Iowa State University
This will be a 5-hour short course / workshop on the diversity, ecology, morphology, and identification of true flies (Diptera), with emphasis on adults and taxa from the Upper Midwest. The workshop will include examination of preserved specimens and maybe a few live ones.  Bringing a copy of Steve Marshall’s book Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera. (2012. Firefly Press) as a reference is highly recommended.

12:45- 2:45 p.m. – “Adventurous Eating: Spreading The Love of Eating Bugs” Presented by Tad Yankoski, Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
Spread your wings and then eat them! Participants will learn beginner-friendly recipes and techniques that include cooking crickets, caterpillars and more!

3:00-5:00 p.m. – “Picture This:  Insect Photography in a Whole New Light” Presented by Nathan Brockman, Reiman Gardens
Bring your camera or cell phone with you for this workshop.  This workshop will look at staging insect photos and different photo styles to spice up your six-legged portfolio.  There will be several stations where you will get the opportunity to take your own photos.


OPENING RECEPTION – (Friday, March 27)

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Dinner, Keynote presentation and behind the scenes Reiman Gardens entomology tour.

Keynote: “Counting Butterflies:  How Community Scientists Have Informed the Science of Monarch Migration, the Windshield Effect, and the Insect Apocalypse” presented by Doug Taron, The Chicago Academy of Science / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

For more information, contact Nathan Brockman at


Download the Day of Insects poster. 

2020 PRESENTATIONS (Saturday, March 28)

9:10-9:30 a.m. – “Life in a Little Known Prairie (Thank you Howard Ensign Evans)” presented by M.J. Hatfield, Coldwater Creek Biological Field Station

9:30-9:50 a.m. – “Urban Habitat Development For Pollinators In Muscatine” presented by Jon Koch

9:50-10:10 a.m. – “What Did I See and Where? Low-Cost GPS Data Capture of Field Observations” presented by Leland Searles

10:10-10:30 a.m. – “Charismatic Flies” presented by Harlan Ratcliff

11:00-11:20 a.m. – “Using photography to survey pollinators on natural areas” presented by Angella Moorehouse, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission

11:20-11:40 a.m. – “For the Bugs: A Basis for Surveying Glacier Creek’s Insects” presented by Brad Carlson

11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – “Tracking migration of Red Admiral and Painted Lady Butterflies:  Weekly surveys, flight direction monitoring, citizen science, and stable isotope analysis” presented by Royce Bitzer, Iowa State University

12:00-12:20 p.m. – “Minnesota Wild Bee Survey – Lessons Learned After Six Years” presented by Jessica Petersen, Minnesota DNR 

1:20-1:40 p.m. – “Communicating knowledge and respect for spiders and their functions in ecosystems for audiences such as elementary students” presented by Mary Stark, Central College

1:40-2:00 p.m. – “Ants and bees of a novel nano-prairie (in Pella, Iowa)” presented by Stephen Johnson

2:00-2:20 p.m. – “So what’s in Your Back Yard” presented by Frank Hitchell

2:20-2:40 p.m. – “Native bees in the Conservation Reserve Program–Are we planting the right prairie plants?” presented by Ai Wen, University of Nothern Iowa

3:10-3:30 p.m. – “Lepidoptera of Wisconsin: Highlights of 50 years in the field.” presented by Les Ferge

3:30-3:50 p.m. – “Beetle Banks” presented by Sarah Nizzi, Xerces Society

3:50-4:10 p.m. – “Beetles in the Bush: A Bioblitz in Africa” presented by Marlin Rice

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE FOR DAY OF INSECTS.  Attendees must register by March 19, 2020.  When you click the link above make sure to select all items you want to participate in before clicking the “view cart” option. 


Other Information:

Silent Auction to support the North American Prairie Conference 
During DOI, we will be holding a silent auction for participants at DOI to bid on.  If you would like to participate in the auction and can bring an item for the auction they can be dropped off at registration in the morning for DOI.  This year all proceeds from the auction will go to supporting the North American Prairie Conference.

Present in 2021
Are you interested in presenting at next year’s 2021 DOI?  Most of the presenters for the day are selected by the DOI committee, but each year we open up two “wild card” slots to the invertebrate community. One of the goals of DOI is to give individuals working on insects an opportunity to share that information with individuals interested in insects. So, what insects fascinate you, what are you working on, are you ready to share your enthusiasm and knowledge with others?  If so, please contact me at

Hotel Information
If you are looking for a hotel to stay in while you are in town for DOI.  Gateway Hotel & Conference Center has a DOI rate of $109 a night if you mention “Reiman Gardens’ Rate” when you call and make your reservation.
Gateway Hotel & Conference Center
2100 Green Hills Drive
Ames, Iowa, 50014, US
Phone: 515/292-8600
Fax: 515/268-2224