Hokie BugFest 2015

Hokie Bugfest logoTake a peek into the fascinating world of entomology at the fifth annual Hokie BugFest! This unique festival will happen on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech (Latham Ballroom). The Inn is on the edge of the Virginia Tech campus off Price’s Fork Road, close to the 460 Bypass and near downtown Blacksburg. Free parking is available.

Activities and exhibits include a live Bug Zoo, Roachzilla! (giant cockroaches), luminescent and cave-dwelling bugs, ant colonies, games, and crafts. Arthropod enthusiasts can admire giant “bird-eater” tarantulas, observe bright-blue death-feigning beetles, see a working beehive, and visit departmental research displays. The themes of science and discovery are interwoven into all activities.

This year we are pleased to welcome David George Gordon, a renowned bug chef from Seattle who will prepare insect delicacies several times during the day. Come find out why eating bugs may be good for you.

Also new this year are a pollinators exhibit from Bayer Bee Care Center and a professional face painter. A member of the Virginia Tech Police Department will host a display on forensics and insects in crime solving.

Back again this year are a large apiculture (beekeeping) exhibit and an insect collection contest for individuals or groups. Other attractions include a pumpkin patch (with fresh pumpkins for sale), the Alberti Flea Circus, a spooky Spiders’ Lair, and the well-known Bo-Ty Dawgs. Larry the Label will be on hand to explain why reading pesticide labels is so important.

Don’t miss the Bug Zoo – your chance to view fascinating arthropods from North America, South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. The zoo’s residents include a variety of tarantulas, beetles, scorpions, cockroaches, centipedes, vinegaroons (forest-dwelling whip scorpions that squirt vinegar from their tail), and many others!

Enter the Luminous Cave and see glow-in-the-dark millipedes and other arthropods. Visit exhibits from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Schiele Museum, and other regional museums. See a cast aluminum fire ant nest and a giant robotic spider.

Everyone’s heard of the “bad guys” of the insect world, pests such as bed bugs, gypsy moths, stink bugs, mosquitoes, and termites. But what about insect “heroes”? Those include honey bees, which help make agriculture possible by pollinating crops. Check out the apiculture exhibit and learn how important bees are.

Stop by the Bug Creations room, where kids can make all sorts of “buggy” crafts. Children can also earn a junior entomologist certificate by visiting eight exhibits at the festival. Older kids will enjoy testing their wits at the Bug Jeopardy booth. Kids of all ages can get their faces painted with an insect theme.

For more details and a schedule of events, go to www.hokiebugfest.org or check out our Facebook page.

The Hokie BugFest was inspired by William B. Alwood, Virginia’s first entomologist. Alwood, an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture, was one of Virginia Tech’s greatest scientists. The W.B. Alwood Entomological Society, a graduate student organization, helps host the BugFest as part of its outreach mission.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Mike Weaver at (540) 231-6543 or email mweaver@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

— Susan Terwilliger, snessler@vt.edu

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