Insect Appreciation at ISU – Iowa State Daily

Courtesy of Ginny Mitchell

Rosie, the Chilean pink-haired tarantula, is a crowd favorite among the various species of insects and arthropods at the Insect Zoo.

The Department of Entomology’s Bug Village will crawl the campus of Iowa State University with a hands-on insect educational experience.

The insect zoo, which is a traveling operation, has not been very frequent on the ISU campus in recent years, so the open house will invite the public and help students recognize the benefits insects as an educational resource.

The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Higher Education Research Building and everyone is welcome.

“Insects are for everyone!” said Ginny Mitchell, insect zoo education program coordinator and entomologist at ISU.

Mitchell stressed the importance of getting students’ attention on campus and showcasing the insect zoo as an important educational resource.

“Not many students know about the insect zoo,” Mitchell said. “We’re actually a great resource, especially for those interested in outreach or interpretation in any field.”

The open house will include all of the insect zoo’s live arthropods on display, representing over 125 species of arthropods. Additionally, Mitchell mentioned that there would be many hands-on opportunities, such as a petting zoo.

Insect art activities will be a must-attend event during the open house, including maggot art, which involves painting with live maggots.

Insect enthusiasts, pictured doing maggot art at a previous Insect Zoo event. (Courtesy of Ginny Mitchell)

Information kiosks with advice on such things as lawn alternatives that are pollinator-friendly, monarch butterfly conservation, and how to control garden and crop pests will be available. There will also be an observation hive with multiple species of bees and breeds of cockroaches.

“We’re also going to have cockroach races, which is really fun,” Mitchell said. “We built a new race track in 2016 for our cockroaches. We have completely redone it, so we are delighted to be able to display it for the first time. We’ll race against orange-headed cockroaches and see who wins! »

Following the open house, there will be two additional events at the Bug Village, including an Insect Field Day hosted by the Entomology Graduate Student Organization. Participants will be able to collect bugs off campus. The cost of admission to the event is $3. To register, students can contact Carley Cunningham, graduate student in the Department of Entomology, via her email, [email protected].

A new event will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Carr Park. At three locations in the park, black lights will be set up to shine on white sheets in the dark to attract insects, and participants will be able to walk to the locations and observe the insects that have been caught.

“The insect zoo will help you fall in love with [bugs]”Mitchell said.

People of all ages are welcome to the open house event. Mitchell hopes people will leave the insect zoo with an appreciation for misunderstood animals.