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Upcoming Events

BugGuide is a National Moth Week Partner. How to add your National Moth Week 2021 photos. July 17-25.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Previous events

Proposal for Gathering 2015 location

My sister and brother-in-law, Vicky and Tom West, own a 300 acre farm in Turtle Lake, WI, and they are open to hosting a BugGuide Gathering this summer, on the weekend of July 10-12. I live in Texas, but I've visited their place several times over the last 10 years and can vouch for the quality of the habitat and the variety of arthropods. The farm used to be a dairy, but that was over 25 years ago. Now it includes forest, meadow, field, swamp and lake shore. A dozen horses live in fenced corrals, some dogs stay in the fenced yard, and three youth (ages 11-16) have the run of the place. The surrounding area includes trails through forest, bogs, rivers and lakes. There are plenty of places where collecting is no problem. I will be glad to organize and lead some field trips; there are way more locations than can be explored in one weekend.

There are motels nearby, and the Wests will have a port-a-potty on site after their July 4th party. Camping for a reasonable fee (to help cover costs) on the property is fine, and there is electric/water available for guests to use, as well as a decent amount of parking. A large pole barn, which will be cleaned out, has a concrete floor, tables and electric, so it can serve as a rustic lab area. There are restaurants and grocery in town.

There is also an option of a low-cost rustic lake house and adjacent screened party shack which can accommodate 4-6 people on cots or sleeping pallets. This includes an unfinished apartment with electric and outdoor water. The septic is not functional, but if there is enough interest, another port-a-potty can be rented for that location as well.

Here are some photos showing the lay of the land from a visit back in 2010.

I'm sure I've forgotten to mention some things; I will be doing the major part of organizing and can answer questions. I first wanted to see if there was any interest in this location and date.

Valerie G. Bugh

FINALLY finished photos
I know that by now most people have moved far past the images submitted for the 2015 gathering in WI, but I only just now had the time to add my stuff (yes, we have a short, but real, winter season here in TX during which I can catch up). I only posted taxons that were not already added by others, but it still amounted to over 170 images. I really appreciate everyone who attended and then posted their images AND did all the work to ID so many of them. The whole event was so much fun because of all of you!

Our images are in
Val, don't know if you will be keeping track of when the gathering images are all in or not, but we are done. All our images from the gathering are now posted. Thanks for a great weekend.

is it possible to sort the search for "gathering_2015" by most recently posted? Otherwise, the ordering seems somewhat random.

I agree, it is hard for me to be sure about duplicates.

Sorting by most recently posted
will not help you find duplicates

My photographs have all been posted as of today. Thanks for the information. I will wait another day to look for duplicates again. I have my tagged items filled up with ID requests right now.

Ann has asked that we all post our images even if they are of species already posted for the gathering. She would like to select out the best image(s) for each species for the trip and will frass the rest for us. You can see that we are posting images of moths even though Ann and Dory have already posted images of the same species. Thank you, Ann -- J&J

I enjoyed it very much
Thanks, Val, and to your sister and her family, as well. Also, thanks to Larry for all the great photos he took of our bug-hunting!

A great group of bug hunters!
I want to thank the great group of folks who came to Turtle Lake for the gathering. It was a pleasure to share our farm and some of the diverse park areas around this area. I had a wonderful time visiting with everyone and watching the intense search for life. Thanks to Val for suggesting the idea of hosting a gathering and helping with all the details. Thanks to our mother, Ev, for the tote bags and name tag organization. Thanks to my husband, Tom, for putting up with the whole idea and mowing the trails. And thanks for all the great photos everyone took. I hope everyone had as much fun as we did.

PS.... sorry for all the mosquitoes and ticks.

Thank you for Bug Guide weekend. Learned a lot. Great location. Enjoyed meeting other people who like bugs.

Yes, great weekend!
Thank you one and all.
Now to process some images and get them posted and ID'd!

Bugguide folks: friendly, interesting, smart, indefatigable
Val: it was a pleasure to meet you. You're an amazing person. Thanks for organizing the gathering and sharing your family, photos and stories with us. Please send my thanks to everyone at the farm. They all pitched in to make our event a pleasure.

What a treat to be camping next to the Balaban's UV setup each night, grilling brats, chatting with fascinating folks, watching Mike Quinn shooting beetle pix on his mini-studio, charging into swamps, wandering endless trails, raiding the beer fridge in the barn, and going home with a supply of Lucas' fresh veggies.

Looking forward to seeing others photos. I saw a lot of amazing previews on the backs of cameras so I know they are coming. I posted some right away knowing they are destined for the frass bucket. Get a move on, bug nerds! I'm itchin' to see those close-ups. Or maybe I'm just still itchin' from deer flies. ;-)

Thanks to Valerie, Vickie, Tom, & family
Thanks to Valerie, Vickie, Tom, & family for setting up & hosting the BugGuide gathering this year. It was a great weekend and I'm sure everyone who attended really appreciates the time and effort you guys put into this weekend. This was my first time visiting Wisconsin and I loved it!

Ditto to Brad's and John and Jane's thank you's. Just got home safely and had a WONDERFUL time! This was both my first BugGuide Gathering AND my first visit to Wisconsin. What a GREAT combination! Really appreciated the opportunity to meet some of my fellow bug lovers.


Page set up
I've set up a page for the 2015 gathering. We drove past the farm yesterday; Valerie has set up a bright pink BugGuide sign!

If I come in on hwy 8, do I go north or south on hwy 63? SusaN

Hwy 8 & 63
are the same road for a short distance in Turtle Lake. Go north on 63 where it splits from 8. The farm will be on the right side, about 3 miles from there.


2015 gathering
I am planning to try to come up for the gathering. Leaving KY tomorrow. I have a tent, but may check on one of the local places. Hope to see you on Friday.
Susan Bryant

Mid-late afternoon Friday, probably
I'm having lunch near Madison Friday and I'll be driving in the afternoon. I'll set up a tent.

Almost here
I am getting pizza in town.

We plan to come to farm
This our first event. Could you describe what you do at the gathering, what we should bring, and how many you anticipate attending?

Of course!
The focus is, as you might expect, insects, so we spend time finding, catching, studying, identifying, discussing and photographing them, along with anything else that is interesting. There will be a main "common room," which is actually a pole barn, where all can gather for socializing, networking, preparing collected specimens or photo processing. The field trips will be to natural areas with a variety of habitats and will allow for both photographing and collecting. This is sort of like a bio-blitz and it is a chance to learn a LOT in a short amount of time, as many of the people that attend have extensive knowledge and are always willing to share their expertise with novices. I've put together an agenda (it's somewhere on this page) but you're also free to just wander about. Besides daytime activities, there will also be light set-ups at the farm each night where you can see moths and other nocturnal bugs. This is usually great fun!

Come prepared to be outdoors a lot (sun protection, personal insect repellent, long pants/sturdy shoes). Depending on your interests, bring camera, collecting equipment (like beat sheets, nets, traps, insect cages/jars), your favorite field guides, binoculars (close-focusing work well for insects), a magnifying glass or similar, or pad for taking notes. The field trips will not be rigorous long hikes but more like casual nature walks - because of insects' small size, we tend to be very detail-oriented.

Except for a pot-luck dinner on Fri., meals are not organized and accommodations range from camping on the farm to staying in local motels.

It's hard to tell how many people will attend, but I'm guessing from the responses here it looks like 15 to 25. There will be a mix of adults and children.

I hope this helps give you an idea of what to expect. I'm looking forward to meeting you.

add us to the list
we'll be there - likely staying in a motel nearby
jane and john

street views of farm entrance & parking
As there have been some questions about parking RVs and camping, I've added a photo gallery showing the roads/parking. I hope this will be helpful.

Clearance on that bridge at entrance?
Hi Valerie:
I'd like to come up with my truck camper and want to be sure it'll clear that "tunnel". Has the UPS truck made it through? :-)

Yes, it has.
The tunnel is 14 feet tall and 16 feet wide. Yes, delivery trucks make it through all the time. Just for info: Anyone with a big RV can use another entrance to the farm with a good place to park. See you soon!

Hi Valerie,

Having never attended one of these I would like to know how it might be appropriate to contribute to the pot luck dinner.

Since I am flying in I could find a Fried Chicken place and bring a family meal, or I would be GLAD to send a check for $75 so you all to decide how you think it could be best used. Just let me know what suits you best and where to send the money if that is your choice.

The grocery store in Turtle Lake
is right on the highway in town. Something like chicken, salad, dessert, or whatever would be great. Don't sweat it - I'm sure there will be plenty of food. I'm looking forward to meeting you and all the other ento-enthusiasts!

Gathering 2015
Do we need to register or let someone know we are planning to come?

There's nothing official.
We can sort of get an idea by the comments here, though. It looks like maybe 15 or so at this point. I'm sure we can accommodate whomever shows up. There are plenty of bugs - enough to go around!

We're coming
Planning to arrive mid day Friday.

As the address has become buried farther down on this topic, I'm duplicating it here for convenience: 1621 1 3/4 Street, Turtle Lake, WI 54889. The main access to the property is off Hwy. 63. There will be a home-made sign on the highway so the turnoff will be obvious. The entrance to the farm is through a short tunnel.

tentative schedule
We've worked out a schedule of field trips for those that want to participate. There will also be maps available for both the farm and the surrounding areas. Our main staging area will be around the farm house.

Fri. 9:00 - Old Cranberry Bog (raised gravel road/dike through very weedy ponds and lake; trumpeter swans nest here, and sometimes osprey)
Fri. 3:00 - West Side of Farm (also called Magic Swamp; includes field edges and a thick stand of pines)
Fri. 7:00 - Pot Luck "get to know each other" Dinner
Fri. night - mercury vapor/black lighting at the Farm
Sat. 9:00 - Kennedy Park & Apple River (the former has a paved trail around a lake with very diverse vegetation; the latter is very close by and includes shallow fast water with rock bottom)
Sat. 3:00 - Loon Lake area (includes a sphagnum swamp with pitcher plants and woods)
Sat. night - mv/black lighting at the Farm
Sun. 9:00 - North Side of Farm (mixed woods and fields; rather hilly)
Sun. 2:00 – Bug Talk for local 4-H kids at pole barn
Sun. 3:00 - Upper Turtle Lake shore (there are springs along the shore)

I am thinking of coming along/attending the night lights. Only live 40 miles away so going home afterwards no big deal. What city is the old cranberry bog located near? May be easier for me to just meet there.

Cranberry Bog is planned for 9 AM.
Sorry - I should have made that clear in the above entry. So far, I've only considered 9AM and 3PM field trips with night lights at the farm, but that may certainly change once we see who's got a generator and a desire to try other places. You're welcome to come a bit early on Fri. evening (7 PM or so) for the potluck dinner, even though it won't get dark for awhile. If I misunderstood and you want to meet in the morning, the Cranberry Bog is about 2 miles west of Turtle Lake, south of Hwy 8 where County Rd. V goes north. It is quite close to the farm.

Yes I was thinking of the cranberry bog in the morn. Undecided right now.

Looking to carpool-- hope to attend - my first.
I'm in San Diego, excited to find the group and don't want to miss the gathering -- I have much to contribute and many questions. Looking to carpool to reduce expenses and hoping to camp.

I am making plans to attend
Should be a fun weekend.

Is there internet on the farm or good cell phone data coverage? If not, is there a place in the area to get internet for a couple hours? (Coffee shop, etc.)

Are there turtles in Turtle Lake?

Yes on both.
They have wifi in the house, which can be accessed nearby. If that doesn't work, they will clear off the kitchen table - I'm not joking. The local library also has wifi. Cell phone coverage is good. Turtle Lake has a casino, so they aren't THAT remote ;-)

Oh, and yes, there ARE turtles in the lake. I think they have turtle races at the fair.

We plan to be there
Me and a gaggle of children.

Is this going to be the BugSwarm for 2015 for sure?
and THANKS Valerie for generously offering this opportunity!

There will be at least 3 people there ;-) so I am going with it as "definite." My husband and I have already reserved a motel room. There are two specific natural areas nearby that are on my agenda and I plan to schedule field trips to those, as well as go on expeditions to different areas of the farm. Of course folks are quite welcome to wander wherever they like, but I also enjoy the chance to share in the observations and expertise of others.

And you are very welcome!

RV parking ok?
This sounds like an excellent gathering idea! My wife and I will just so happen to be going on a road trip all the way from California around that time and we'd love to check out what kinds of critters are in the area. We're used to west coast bugs, so pretty much everything will be new.

We'll be travelling in an RV, so would we be able to park it on or near the property? Otherwise, do you know if there is a camp nearby that allows RVs? We'll be bringing some basic collecting gear and a blacklight setup. I'm hoping the side of the white RV will make for a good UV reflector.

car pool possibility?
Hi, I'm a biologist in SoCal - wondering if you have room for a ride-a-long (plus or minus a well-behaved, housebroken, neutered, mix-breed dog). Happy to help pay for gas....please let me know, I can meet you en route.

Yes, absolutely.
The road to the farm goes through a tunnel under an ex-railroad-now-snowmobile trail, but an RV should fit through. There is room for parking around a paved circular drive. The nearest camping is in Turtle Lake, but it will be unavailable that weekend due to the fair. You will have much nicer scenic views on the farm. ;-)

I haven't mentioned it before, but, while the arthropods are good, the mega-wildlife is not too shabby either. Cranes, trumpeter swans, geese and eagles nest in the area. Sightings of these, as well as turkey, deer, bear, otter, fox, etc. are not too uncommon.

Sounds like a plan!
Excellent, it sounds like we can make it! Would we be able to stay overnight in our RV (for a fee)? We won't need to have any hookups, so all we would need is a fairly flat place to park.
We're looking forward to seeing all the wildlife! It sounds like a great location.

Parking is great.
There is plenty of space for parking RVs. Well, not like 20 or 30 Class As, but for a handful it is no problem. There will be mv/black lighting at night, so it should be interesting night and day.

insect ID
After you have submitted images, where does one find out what Identification was given to the species in the image ?

Meadowlark Scott

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