College students chase bugs for credit - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

College students chase bugs for credit

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Reinders and Hovland say the best way to catch insects is a technique called the swish and flick. Reinders and Hovland say the best way to catch insects is a technique called the swish and flick.
ALTON, Iowa (KTIV) -

To many people, bugs in the summer are simply pests, but to two college students, insects mean college credit.

How do they earn that credit?

They retrieve the six-legged creatures, and deliver them to the lab.

Jordy Reinders and Logan Hovland, juniors at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, have been coming to the Robert Dunlop Wildlife Area about twice a week all summer.

"We usually start here by the water, see if we can find a few dragon flies that we haven't caught yet, then we eventually take the loop all the way around the back, and just try to pick up any other bugs we see along the way," says Reinders.

The two are hunting insects for invertebrate zoology, a class they're enrolled in for the fall semester.

"It's a fun project to work on. It doesn't feel like school work when we're out here," says Hovland.

Reinders and Hovland are getting a head start by catching bugs in the summer, when the flying and crawling creatures are more plentiful. The class requires students to collect, identify and pin 75 insects of different species.

The boys say the best way to catch insects is a technique they learned from their professor called the swish and flick.

"We usually try to catch at least two if we can, but we don't want to catch more than we have to, because we want to leave them out there," said Hovland.

The students say they've have gained a new appreciation for bugs and what they do for the environment.

"Without bugs it'd be hard for a lot of processes in the world to exist because bugs pollinate flowers and the flowers make oxygen and the flowers provide food for other animals," said Reinders.

Plus, they have a heightened awareness of insect activity, even when they don't have their bug catching gear with them.

"Sometimes it's almost annoying because you see something and you're like 'Ah, there it is', but there's nothing you can do about it," says Hovland.

"Like right now I can just look around and I see a bunch of different things flying around and before I wouldn't have noticed that. You just notice how much diversity there is in the bug world," said Reinders.

Reinders and Hovland have exceeded that number. Now they say they just collect the bugs as a hobby, and for possible extra credit. They have a goal of catching a giant tiger swallow tail. It's a butterfly that they say is hard to catch and would be a nice trophy to their collection.

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