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March 6, 2024

Buzzworthy: new podcast sorts insect facts from fiction

Hear ye, hear ye!

Author: Jules Bernstein
March 6, 2024

Friends, Romans, arthropods, lend us your ears! For those curious about insects – their behavior, love lives, the threat or lack thereof they pose to humans – there is a new podcast: Can I Bug You? 

Podcast co-hosts Jules Bernstein, L, and Doug Yanega, R, recording at the KUCR FM studio. (Stan Lim/UCR)

Recorded on the UC Riverside campus at the KUCR FM radio studio, the podcast is a twice-monthly deep dive into insects’ sometimes creepy but mostly fascinating world. It is produced and hosted by university spokeswoman Jules Bernstein and Doug Yanega, one of the world’s foremost experts on insects. He is also the senior museum scientist at UCR’s Entomology Research Museum. 

Boasting more than 4 million specimens, the museum is one of the larger university-based insect collections in North America. Though managing such a collection is labor intensive, Yanega explains why he’s taken on hosting the new podcast.

“My primary motivation is basically a personal vendetta against misinformation, of which there is way too much when it comes to arthropods – be it spider bites, killer bees, bed bugs, extinction, or many other topics,” Yanega said. “If we can educate people and also entertain them, then the podcast will do a great public service.”

The first episode features UCR biological control specialist Mark Hoddle, and what he’s doing to mitigate an existential threat to Southern California’s palm trees in the form of a weevil invasion. A Valentine’s Day episode delves into the love lives of bedbugs. And a third episode features Ig Nobel Prize-winning UCR arachnologist Rick Vetter on the most misunderstood spiders in North America, the black widow and the brown recluse. 

Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and let the sounds crawl into your ears. Make sure to subscribe for new episodes out every other week on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 


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