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Put a Bug in One’s Ear

Jamie from Calais, Vermont, says an unfortunate experience with an insect made her wonder about the expression to put a bug in your ear or put a bug in one’s ear, meaning “to make a strong, insistent suggestion to someone.” An...

Flesh Fly vs. Horsefly

Rhonda in San Diego, California, and her husband have a dispute over the proper nomenclature for flies that occasionally wing their way into their home. He wants to call a large fly a horsefly, but she has a biology and animal-husbandry background...

Names for Lightning Bugs and Fireflies

Fireflies have lots of different names in English, including lightning bug, lighter fly, glowworm, and third-shift mosquito. These insects have similarly poetic names in other languages. In Brazil, it’s a vagalume or wandering light, and the...

Hilltopping

Hiking in the mountains, Martha kept noticing butterflies at about 4,000-to-5,000 feet above sea level. Those butterflies are hilltopping. It’s when male butterflies of many species go to high points to advertise their fortitude and genes to the...