With this, we have come to the end of Bugs 101. The entomologists at the University of Alberta hope that you've enjoyed learning about the importance of insects to human society. Over the past 12 modules, we've learned about the incredible diversity of insects and other arthropod groups. We investigated insects structure and function, biology, behavior, and ecology, and other key adaptations that make insects successful. We've also seen how these special characteristics contribute to the many different positive and negative human-insect interactions across the world. By learning about insect biology, we can better develop management strategies that promote harmonious interactions between humans, insects, and the environment. Many of these interactions depend upon how people perceive insects in their environment. Let's talk to Peter Heule once again to hear about people's perceptions of insects at the Royal Alberta Museum bug gallery. I think it's almost overwhelmingly positive. Certainly, some people are frightened of mostly spiders but certainly different groups of insects and those sorts of things and that I think that having a very safe environment where you have glass between you, the tank is locked, hopefully you don't feel as though there's any chance that it's going to be able to get out and get you, that that safe controlled experience is certainly something that fosters a little bit more of a positive understanding. I think also that by having them in semi natural habitats that I think it provides a little bit more of an authentic experience. This might be hopefully like what you would encounter if you run into one in the jungle without worrying about it getting in your hair, or on your shoulder, or something like that. So I think it's quite positive and generally people who maybe are a little bit apprehensive, have a little bit of anxiety, I feel like that is somewhat eased just by the atmosphere in here and of course, just the sheer number of them. It's hard not to be, not overwhelmed, but I think let your guard down almost. Is that you're a little bit iffy about this but, "Oh, what's this?" That curiosity takes over and then I think people realize again that it's a safe place to have that positive experience. Kids love bugs, absolutely. I think that it takes some time for you to develop the bad attitude towards these things, that I don't think here in Canada with not especially dangerous or especially aggressive invertebrates that people often end up with an unhealthy attitude towards them. Honestly, I think it's very much culturally transmitted and that that little kid who's maybe two years old isn't afraid of any of those things. Once they've gotten to grade 2, now they're afraid of all these things, wasps are bad and spiders are bad, and it's been picked up but not authentically through having a negative experience with the animal. Part of it in order to keep all these live things and it's a fair amount of work to keep these guys all very healthy and happy, but the whole purpose of keeping them in a museum setting is to teach people about them. So there are a lot of visitors that come in and check this stuff out but we also make sure that we go out to schools, we go out to nature and animal themed events around the city. In some cases too, some of the smaller communities around Alberta, don't really have enough- you know, the public school in Bon Accord might not have enough money to put all the kids on a bus and send them to the city. So by coming out with a few animals, we can kind of make sure that they still get that experience. We have a South African flat rock scorpion who has never been on display. We probably will not put them on display but are wonderful for outreach. I take them to preschools, kindergartens, you could actually like pet their claw and shake hands with the scorpion as it were, and then otherwise things like the giant African millipedes and the stick insects. It's hard to be afraid of those guys, you might get some iodine, some defensive chemicals on you from the millipede but that's just an interesting interpretive element and of course, the stick insects. It's hard to be afraid of something that pretends to be a leaf and flutters when you blow at it. Well, people are kind of surprised to find out that it takes me five minutes to get a human used to a tarantula. It might take me two years of handling to get a tarantula used to being pet by humans, mostly because hopefully the humans I'm interacting with understand the words I'm saying and I can ease your fears, but that tarantula, it's merely through experience. I get picked up, I sit on a nice warm hand, I warm up while I'm doing it but nobody hurts me, and then time and time again they say, "Oh, okay. This isn't so bad." Some of it is systematic desensitization. The idea there is that it's baby steps. So I've actually been speaking to somebody here who's afraid of spiders and had to just run through the same thing with them, and it's really easy for me. All I do is take a spider out and talk calmly about it. This is nothing on me. The amount of psychological effort on your part is much more significant. So the idea is you're supposed to imagine a situation that's the least anxiety producing. So if you're afraid of spiders, you're going to imagine a dead spider under glass across the room with a wall between you and them. Then, the next step might be that you remove the wall, or you remove the glass, or the spider is a little bit bigger, or the spider is alive. You work your way up. Mentally, you imagine this stuff. If you are afraid of these things, even imagining that situation, you're going to start perspiring, your heart rate's going to go up, you're going to have those like natural stress response. But if you imagine that over and over and over again, by the time you actually come to see me and want to pet the tarantula, you've already done this 100 times in your mind. So the other trick is what's your goal? Not everybody wants to be able to reach into the birdeater tank and scurry them onto their hand. You might just want to be okay standing next to someone else holding a spider. So understanding what people's goals are, and then of course, just facilitating that in an absolutely non-confrontational way. If you're a young kid, you might be afraid of spiders. Spiders might be really scary. By the time you're 30 or 40 years old, you're not going to internalize that you're afraid of spiders because that seems like a weakness. Spiders are disgusting, they're horrible animals that don't even deserve your respect and they should be wiped off the face of the planet. It almost becomes pathos. So you have to be very careful not to allow that tiny little psychological fear to then actually blossom into some outright hatred and when we first talked about that ecological blasphemy, you're at the top of the food chain. You eat well because of everything else on this planet. You should respect that as opposed to saying, "Oh, it's all disgusting and it doesn't deserve my respect." So that is a challenging thing. Is that when you're really young, you might be open to that sort of change but once you've gotten to be an adult who's grown up with these fears and this contempt for these organisms, it's much harder to deal with mostly because you've accepted that. I find that to be very, very challenging especially in adult supervisors of groups of very small kids. Yeah, that's right. It's disgusting. You're like "that five-year-old doesn't know that's your opinion", and that there's no reason that you should go through the psychological effort to improve your attitudes to spiders, if they're disgusting animals that don't deserve your respect. So I really do feel like this is hopefully a place where we can try to improve that across society and that it doesn't matter how many legs or whether something has a backbone or not. Armed with your new knowledge, how do you feel about the importance of insects to human society now? As a measure of how you perceive the importance of insects and what you have learned about insects in Bugs 101, retake the quiz that you completed at the start of the course. Compare your answers now with your answers from your first attempt to see how much you have learned in Bugs 101. Unless you are already a professor in entomology, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Now that you've been bitten by the entomology bug, you might be interested in learning more about insects. If so, there are many ways to do so. Join your local professional or amateur entomological groups, visit zoos, museums, and botanical gardens. Take some more entomology courses either online or in the classroom. There are plenty of opportunities to learn if you are willing to reach out. Thank you for joining us on this epic journey through the world of insect human interactions. We've had a lot of fun and we hope you'll come away with more of an appreciation for the many ways insects impact our world. We've heard from many experts throughout the course and each of them shared their favorite insect. Up until this point however, we haven't shared our own favorite species. So in case you were wondering, here they are. One of my favorite insects is the forest tent caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria. This insect is a native forest defoliator in North America and an important disturbance agent in the boreal forest, where it mostly feeds on trembling aspen, Populus tremuloides. In other parts of its wide range, it feeds on a variety of tree species. The larvae are gregarious and communicate with each other using trail pheromones that dictate foraging behavior. The species is also considered a pest when population densities peak, and can require human intervention to limit defoliation caused by larval feeding and the nuisance caused by the sheer presence of thousands of larvae. There is no denying that the forest tent caterpillar is also beautiful. It was featured as the poster child for the Entomological Society of Canada meetings held in Alberta in 2012. My favorite insect is the green lacewing in the order Neuroptera. As adults, they have beautiful delicate wings that look like fine lace with all of the highly branched wing veins. Many of them also have beautiful big metallic golden eyes and bright green bodies. As adults, they feed on nectar and honeydew and some adults are also predatory. Lacewings are sometimes used as biological control agents in agriculture and horticulture, and if you're lucky, you might also find them in your backyard. The larvae are generally highly predacious and are very efficient at hunting mites, aphids, caterpillars, and other small arthropods that are considered pests. This is really difficult because I don't have favorites of anything. Rock crawlers from the family Grylloblattidae would probably rank near the top though. These insects have a lot going for them, they inhabit high-altitude rocky or icy mountain top regions that I also love. They were not only discovered in Canada, but in the Rockies and their thermal optimum is around five degrees Celsius which is hands down my preference over a sweltering summer day. Grylloblattids may look really bland but they lead a pretty secretive life in some spectacular locations. There are so many amazing insects out there that I could never pick just one favorite, but what originally drew me to entomology was the incredibly alien form some insects take. Few insects look more bizarre than treehoppers which come from a few families of hemipterans such as the Membracidae. Many treehoppers have fantastic ornamentation formed by outgrowths of their pronotum. This ornamentation often mimics structures of their plant hosts to camouflage the insects. Other tree hoppers do just the opposite and display bright colors or patterns to stand out to predators as a warning of their toxicity or distastefulness. The diversity of insects on this planet is truly astonishing. After generations of studying these fascinating creatures, the only thing we really understand is how much more is left to discover.