Insectapalooza 2017 to feature ‘Sounds of Insects’ showcase, live Anthropod Zoo, butterfly room, pollinator exhibit, cockroach races and hands-on learning activities
Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Creepy crawlers are coming out to play for Insectapalooza 2017, an interactive, hands-on experience for all ages on Oct. 28.
Held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Comstock Hall on Cornell’s Ithaca campus, the annual insect fair reflects the ways insects interact with people and affect our lives. Insectapalooza features hundreds of live insects, spiders and other arthropods from the collections of the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Entomologists and students will be on hand to explain the behaviors and adaptations of the insect world at the event, which draws up to 2,000 people each year.
Popular attractions include a butterfly room where visitors can experience free-flying butterflies without the barriers of cages or nets, cockroach races and a face-painting station. The Arthropod Zoo features exotic creatures like the ogre-faced spider – a tiny creature with enormous eyes that spins webs in its front legs, which it uses like a net to catch prey. Live scorpions, praying mantis, ants, wolf spiders, assassin bugs and other diverse creatures will also be on display, in a way that even people who are squeamish about bugs can enjoy.
“You can get about as up close and personal as you can imagine, or you can stay at arm’s length,” said Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology.
Not only can you see bugs like never before, you can hear them as well. New this year is an exhibit called Sounds of Insects that showcases the buzzings, chirpings and clickings of dozens of arthropod species.
Linda Rayor, senior lecturer and research associate in entomology and director of the Naturalist Outreach Program, said people are accustomed to hearing insects as part of a larger auditory experience, like the cacophony of a late summer evening. The new exhibit isolates those sounds in a way that Rayor says provides a unique experience of the auditory world of bugs.
At the pollinator exhibit, visitors can explore an entire room with live honeybees, bumblebees, games and interactive displays. You can taste honey made from bees in the room and learn what a pollinator-friendly garden looks like.
Bee expert Emma Mullen, extension associate with the Department of Entomology, noted: “It’s important to spread knowledge of insects to the wider public because they play such as huge role in our lives, like pollinating crops on the beneficial side and as agricultural pests on the negative side. An event like this lets people see a bigger picture of where their food actually comes from.”
The cost of entry to Insectapalooza 2017 is $3 per person, and free for children age 3 and younger. For more information, visit the Cornell Entomology website.