Your friendly Neighborhood Entomologist

Virginia Yerxa Community Read (VYCR) is kicking off next week with Jason Bond, an entomologist at UC Davis. The public is invited to come to the Colusa Library on Tuesday, April 23 at 6:30 PM to be enlightened about eight-legged relatives of the main character of the VYCR’s featured book, “Charlotte’s Web.”

The VYCR seeks to promote reading, and support the community, through an annual book-in-common experience.

Those afraid of spiders need not worry. Bond said that in his experience, understanding is key to overcoming anxiety. Bond is well versed and will extol the virtues of these creatures, which perform a service to humans by eating insidious insects. Of the 50,000 known species of spiders, only 30 are known to be toxic to humans, he said. That is particularly good news for those in Colusa County, where the spider assists agriculture by consuming crop pests and those ever-so-delightful mosquitos. 

In E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” the arachnid introduces herself as Charlotte A. Cavatica, which is the genus of a barn spider. 

Joining Bond at VYCR’s first activity will be the Master Gardeners of Colusa County, who will have more information and answer questions related to local spiders. 

This is just the beginning in a series of actives all interwoven around “Charlotte’s Web.” Next will be Explorit Science Center’s hands-on spider lesson and story time for children, Wednesday, April 24 at 3:30 PM. ■