Ants are among the most hated insects on Earth, and bees are among the most beloved. But they have a lot in common. Most are social animals who live in vast hives of workers who must constantly communicate with each other to gather food, care for young, and build their nests.
Neil is the Michelbacher Chair of Systematic Entomology at UC Berkeley. He runs a lab that researches ants and bees—their ecology, their evolution, how they communicate, and why they behave the way they do. He works in both the field and the lab, studying chemical communication, behaviors, and the genetics of individuals, populations, and species. Neil has experimented with affecting ant behavior using the insects’ own chemical signals. He just completed a study showing that California honey bees have recently undergone profound genetic transformations.
Join Ars Technica’s editor-at-large Annalee Newitz in conversation with Tsutsui at the next Ars Technica Live on May 9 at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland. There will be plenty of time for audience questions, too.
Tsutsui is also on the East Bay Regional Parks Advisory Committee and works on Backyard Biodiversity, a group that runs citizen science projects to help people “uncover local biodiversity.” Backyard Biodiversity projects have included asking people to identify how many species of insects died in their backyard pools, as well as testing which kinds of “natural deterrents” (like cinnamon) can stop an ant invasion.
Ars Live takes place on the second Wednesday of every month at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland (3629 MLK Way). Doors open at 7pm, and the live filming is from 7:30pm to 8:20-ish (be sure to get there early if you want a seat). Stick around afterward for informal discussion, beer, and delicious food.
The event is free but space is limited, so RSVP using Eventbrite. See you soon, Bay Area Arsians!
Can’t make it out to Oakland? Never fear! Episodes will be posted to Ars Technica the week after the live events (watch past events here).