The Bugscope

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 3.30.42 AM.png

The weekly #bugscope

Every Tuesday at about 2:30pm ET you can join
Isa Betancourt for a live broadcast about bugs!


Looking forward to Periscoping with you!


March 12th, 2019
Hello hello!
Today will be a quick scope because I am at the final stretch of my graduate classes and because I have a presentation tomorrow at the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association that I am working on polishing off.

I am at the end of a two week span that contained 5 presentations! It started off with a presentation for the American Entomological Society on science communication, then a presentation to the Geographical Society of Philadelphia on urban insects and my Swann Fountain project. I got home at 3am this morning from the Eastern Branch Entomological Society of America Meeting in Blacksburg, Virginia where I presented on the entomology collection digitization projects at the Academy. I also did a 5 minute talk there on urban insects and human connection.

Between that and the end of my academic quarter, my schedule will mellow out going forward because I am going from taking two classes to taking one class each quarter. I have been taking two classes in addition to my full-time curatorial duties for the last year and a half!! So I have had little free time. These last couple months I have been feeling burnt out.. It has affected my ability to stretch my wings and carry out some of my creative ideas. (for example, I want to have a 10th birthday party for Saffron, my red rump tarantula!) So yea.. I’m so excited to have free time and to use it to explore buggy projects I’ve had in mind. So stay tuned :)

Beyond today, what’s lined up for the Bugscope?
Tuesday, March 18: Katie, a good friend of mine from when I studied abroad in Costa Rica, will be at the Academy as a visiting researcher. She studies Diatoms. What are diatoms? I didn’t know of their existence until I was working at the Academy!
In preparation for that broadcast, I’m giving you homework! Check these beautiful art pieces made of diatoms in the 19th century.
The exact time of this broadcast is TBD, I’m waiting to hear from Katie about her schedule.
Tuesday, March 26: My coworker, Karen Verderame, who is in-charge of the live-bugs and the annual Bugfest! at the Academy of Natural Sciences will be our special guest. What live bugs we will have on hand is TBD.
This is an episode you’ll want to share with your kids!

Bugscope projects on the horizon:
With classes winding down, I’m going to turn some focus into making a bugscope blog, which will include highlights from the week’s episodes.
• I also plan to upload some bugscope episodes to Youtube.
Finally, A Bugscope Patreon is also in the works! I’m aiming for a launch in April. Stay tuned. Also, let me know what ideas you may have for tier rewards.

Cheers ya’ll and see ya on the bugscope! Shoot me a message if you have any questions or requests.


Jan 16 2019
We are half a month into the new year. I hope your new year is off to a good start!
For the first broadcast of the year (January 8th), Greg, my coworker hopped onto the Bugscope with me and shared his stories from his grasshopper collecting trip in December.

This past week (January 15) we took a look at some Wasp Mimic Tiger Moths (Select tribes in the subfamily Arctiinae). Many have clear wings, iridescent scales, and bright, contrasting colors - like wasps!

Next week’s topic: TBD

Current Aims: I’m currently working on learning the technical route to bringing a remote guest onto the #bugscope through a Periscope live audio broadcast. I spoke with Marc - or Cricket Man of the EntoNation Podcast last week and I think bugscopers will really enjoy chatting with him and hearing his experience with farming crickets.


December 4th update:
Last week: We looked at one or two books and then diverged into talking about Periscope functionality successes and areas for improvement and finally dove into seeing what insect might match up with the insect pin I was wearing. Based on the morphology, it must be some sort of blister beetle (Meloidae).
I will revisit books more thoroughly in a future broadcast!

The December 4th broadcast:
Postponed until 6pm because of a meeting. Topic - Antlions and Owlflies. Also the
Insect Apocalypse article published by the New York Times on Novembr 27th 2018

Also, here is a nice clip about the imagery created and chosen for the article:

The Bugscope lands on CHRISTMAS this and NEW YEARS this year! Stay tuned for specially themed broadcasts.

November 27, 2018 Update:

On this day we will explore the books on the shelves of the Entomology Department
also it is:
Giving Tuesday!

Some organizations that are near and dear to me that I contribute to:
The Academy of Natural Sciences:
The Xerces Society for invertebrate conservation:
The Entomology Collection Network:

💖Support the #Bugscope through a monetary 💖 donation 💖

Would you like to support the bugscope? 
There are many ways to support the bugscope! 

  • Share the broadcasts with your friends and family

  • Send engagement hearts while watching the broadcasts

  • Send tips in the form of superhearts during live broadcasts

  • Order an item on the bugscope wishlist

  • Purchase a bug magnet

  • Send a piece of mail (Notes about an insect encounter you had, send an insect specimen, etc! Contact me for address)

  • Contact me if you have something else in mind!

Bugscope Snapshot
bugscope broadcasts 2