Bug Fest Is Here!

Bug Fest, the Academy’s popular annual festival that celebrates the amazing diversity of insects with hundreds of live critters, roach races, bug walks with scientists, and even insect-tasting, will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12.

Hundreds of live millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, stick insects, caterpillars, tarantulas, beetles, ants, and butterflies will be wiggling around the museum during the Academy’s most popular festival. Visitors will be able to hold a cockroach, count the legs on a centipede, learn how to make candies with edible insects, and talk with Academy entomologists about their cutting-edge research.

Philadelphia candy maker Shane Confectionery will delight with an edible display, samples to taste, and demonstrations on how you can make your own treat packed with healthy edible bugs. It’s also the perfect opportunity to see Xtreme Bugs, an exhibit of giant colorful animatronic insects designed to engage young and old in appreciating some of the odder, more extreme characteristics of insects.

“At Bug Fest we’ll have more than 100 species of live insects on display for our visitors to examine up close, and our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to explain what they are seeing,” said Academy insect specialist and Bug Fest organizer Karen Verderame. “It’s a really fun way for people of all ages to learn how important insects are in our daily life and also to have fun with face painting and craft making.”

Getting a close-up look at an African Millipede at Bug Fest.

Bug Fest also presents the science behind the news headlines, as visitors can and talk with scientists about mosquitoes and invasive (and sometimes destructive) species including lanternflies and ash borer beetles. Some of these insects that can wreak havoc in the backyard will be on display as part of the museum’s world-renowned research collection.

The Entomology Collection contains more than 3.5 million specimens, of which more than 11,000 are primary types, and represent over 100,000 species. Some specimens were collected as recently as this past week. Others are over two centuries old. Researchers use the collections to study how to distinguish insects, to discover new species, to understand insect biology, ecology and evolution, and to understand changes in habitat and climate due to people’s activities.

Despite the more than one million insects that scientists have already identified, experts estimate there are millions more to be discovered.

“Bugs run the world and are more diverse than any other living thing on earth,” Verderame said. “They are pollinators, nature’s recyclers and exterminators, and are an important food source for many other living things. The more we know about them, the more success we’ll have for a sustainable future.”

Specimens from the Academy’s Entomology Collection offer a rare view of the collection, which is sought out by researchers around the world.

Bug Fest, sponsored by Western Pest Services takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discount tickets are available at ansp.org. For a full list of activities, visit ansp.org. Here’s a sampling:

Bug Walks
Join Academy entomologists on an expedition outside the museum to see what species of invertebrates live there. Hourly 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Bug Appétit: Candy with a Crunch
Shane Confectionery will give a delicious demonstration on how to make candy with an unexpected ingredient: edible insects. Demonstrations at noon and 3 p.m. All day visitors can examine the candy maker’s mouth-watering edible display “Bugs in the Backyard” and try a sample treat.

Roach Races Grand Prix

Cheer your favorite roach as it tests its speed on different tracks and races over obstacles. The best competitors will go on to race in the finals! 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Bugs on the Big Screen

Take a high-definition look at what makes bugs beautiful, amazing and important in this unique live-insect show. 1 p.m.

 Bedbug-sniffing Dog Demonstrations

Learn about the bugs that bug us and what you can do if you find them in your home. Meet Western Pest Services’ dogs that help sniff out these unwanted houseguests. 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The Bug Ball

Have your face painted or get an insect tattoo. Make and take a creepy crawly critter craft.

Top photo: Beyer’s Scarab Beetles. Photos by Mike Servedio/ANS.

Dragon headed katydid hopes to see you at Bug Fest!

Post by Carolyn Belardo

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