The bug track focuses on the good, the bad and the bugly in the Minnesota insect world. With so much focus on pollinators, the attention is also turning to hundreds of other species we see in Minnesota and get questions about every day.  

Friday, June 28 Sessions


Alan Branhagen




    3:30 - 4:20 p.m. SNYDER AUDITORIUM
    Embracing horticulture ecology: Gardening with insects!
    The insects that live on our plantings are the building blocks for the entire web of life including us. If you think you can live without wild things, you should know that you cannot: from pollination and recycling services, keeping pests in check, to feeding songbirds and other creatures... insects are a necessity in a healthy landscape. Learn about some favorite insects (it's a mind boggling, diverse group of creatures!) the current challenges that they face; and based on decades of personal and public gardening experience, which plants and gardening techniques help them thrive and enrich our gardens.

4:30 - 5:20 p.m. ARBORETUM GROUNDS
Observing in nature with Alan Branhagen
Alan Branhagen will lead us out to the fields, armed with binoculars, to hunt for insects. Alan is a VP in the new Twin Cities Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association and in charge of butterfly counts. This organization advocates for the use of binoculars and cameras to observe, capture and document insects. If you have own close-focusing binoculars, please bring them along. If you do not have your own, there will be a number available to participants.

Saturday, June 29 Sessions


Michael Engel


Larry Weber





Matthew Gullickson










Bill Johnson

    11:30 - 12:20 p.m. SNYDER AUDITORIUM
    Conversations with Dr. Michael Engel

    Our Keynote Speaker on Saturday will be meeting with the Bug Track group for continuing conversations on what it is like being a world renowned entomologist.

    12:30-1:25 LUNCH

    1:30 - 2:20 p.m. SNYDER AUDITORIUM

    Spiders in the garden
    Larry Weber

    Have fun with spiders! Our friendly cousins in the Anthropod world, spiders can invoke fear and fascination. Along with the many plants in our gardens are myriads of insects and spiders. In this presentation, we will take a closer look at the spiders. Though common, this group of animals is often overlooked and misunderstood. We will examine what is a spider and its anatomy. We will discuss their hunting methods; both web makers and non-web making spiders. Emphasis will be on the local spiders; how to recognize them and observe their behavior.

    2:30 - 3:20 p.m. SNYDER AUDITORIUM
    Spotted-wing drosophila management for small-scale fruit production and the home garden
    Matthew Gullickson

    Have you noticed that fruit seems to start rotting faster in recent years? It's not your imagination! A new invasive species called spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) has been wreaking havoc on our berry crops since 2012. SWD is the most destructive insect pest to small fruit in Minnesota and infestation can range from 2 to 100% depending on the fruit and time of year. SWD can feed on more than 100 fruit species, reproduces rapidly, and there are limited options for control. Insecticide application is the most common method for controlling SWD, but spraying can be expensive, dangerous to human health and the environment, and detrimental to beneficial insects.  In recent years, there has been an interest in an integrated pest management program that is less dependent on spraying. This presentation will cover current management techniques, including insecticides and cultural controls, for SWD that can be used by anyone from commercial fruit producers to the home gardener. There will be a demonstration of fruit at various stages of infestation, instructions on how to make SWD monitoring traps, the opportunity to practice SWD identification, and exclusion netting examples.

    3:30 - 4:20 p.m. SNYDER AUDITORIUM
    Photographing Insects in and around the Garden
    Bill Johnson

    Have you ever wondered how photographers get those tack-sharp close-up images of insects?  Well, in this presentation, Bill will discuss how to successfully capture images of insects that gardeners might come across in their gardens.  He'll talk about the equipment necessary to accomplish this through many examples of his work, as well as stories behind a lot of the images that you'll see, including hits and misses through his years of experience.  For folks who want to really get into this type of photography, he'll also briefly talk about finding and photographing insects at night. 




Tree Track

Garden Design Track

Confirmed Speakers

2019 Planning Team

Area Accommodations