Meet our friend, Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice. Dr. Eleanor is an entomologist, writer, and gen-u-ine nature nut.

One thing you need to know about Dr. Eleanor: She LOVES ants. This isn’t a recent crush — ants have long held a special place in Eleanor’s heart. Seriously, how else could you explain this little anecdote, here in Dr. Eleanor’s own words?

When I was little, I took my breakfast crumbs out to the front yard to feed the black carpenter ants living in the willow oak trees. I built little piles of bacon and toast for them on top of oak leaves and waited for them to lumber out from holes hidden in the bark at the base of the trees.

This childhood fascination with ants continued into Eleanor’s educational and professional pursuits. She studied the behavior and interactions of two invasive ant species, the Argentine ant and the Asian needle ant, to earn her Ph.D. in Entomology from North Carolina State University.

As we continue to update the School of Ants map of ant biodiversity across the US (populated by records contributed by our amazing army of citizen scientists), we thought it important to share the stories of the species representing the points on that map.

Who better to share those stories than Dr. Eleanor, Ant Enthusiast-Extraordinaire?

So today, we’re psyched to launch Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants – Check out the first seven chapters (more coming soon) and get the skinny about the species you’re most likely to encounter in your backyard. Like Dr. Eleanor, you might just fall in love.