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Young Entomologist’s Project on Display at ESA Branch Meeting

Chloe Weingarten

Chloe Weingarten, 13, of Rochester, Minnesota, presented her poster titled “Bee-searching for a solution: using an antifeedant to conserve bees” and the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America’s North Central Branch in March. (Photo credit: Erin Hodgson, Ph.D.)

In mid-March, the Entomological Society of America’s North Central Branch hosted its annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. Entomologists, both professional and students, from the region gathered to share their science via posters and presentations. Among them was one unique poster author: 13-year-old Chloe Weingarten, a seventh-grader from Rochester, Minnesota.

Weingarten has been a budding entomologist for several years (see video below), in part inspired by her aunt, Erin Hodgson, Ph.D., associate professor and extension entomologist at Iowa State University. Looking for a science fair project last year, Weingarten was connected through Hodgson with ISU colleague Matt O’Neal, Ph.D. The project Weingarten worked on resulted in a poster at the ESA North Central Branch Meeting titled “Bee-searching for a solution: using an antifeedant to conserve bees.”

Below, get to know this young entomologist via a Q&A conducted at the conference.

Entomology Today: How long have you been interested in insects? 

Weingarten: I have been interested insects for as long as I can remember. My aunt is an entomologist, so I have grown up around them.

Do you like to collect insects and keep a collection?

I do have a collection of insects that I have had for quite some time. I live in an area with lots of wildlife, so there are a lot of insects to collect. Whenever we go on vacation I like to look to find different insects to collect and usually have success.

A few years ago, you were part of a YouTube video that highlighted your interest in rearing monarch caterpillars. Are you still doing that?

I still do rear Monarch caterpillars. It is probably the highlight of my summer, and I love finding them and being able to help them have a better chance to grow up.

Weingarten O'Neal and Hodgson

Iowa State University’s Matt O’Neal, Ph.D., (left) and Erin Hodgson, Ph.D., (right) advised Chloe Weingarten of Rochester, Minnesota, on a research project that she presented in poster format at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America’s North Central Branch in March. Weingarten, 13, is Hodgson’s niece and has taken an interest in entomology since a young age. (Photo credit: Erin Hodgson, Ph.D.)

Why did you decide to work on pollinators?

I decided to work with pollinators because I am interested in them; I find it really cool that they [bees] have their own civilization and can create something that we love to eat. I asked my aunt for some ideas for a science fair project that involves bees and she had a coworker who happened to have a formula that needed to be tested on bees.

Do you participate in science fairs at your school?

I do participate in in the science fair. I have done it since third grade and I love it.

What else do you want to say about being a young person interested in science?

We are the future and getting into science at a young age is going to help you and the world greatly.

In 2009, Hodgson’s video about Chloe Weingarten, who was just 4 years old at the time, earned an award in the Open category of ESA’s YouTube Your Entomology Contest.

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