None of us knew what to expect at the Insect Expo today. Some of the students told me later that they thought it would be more like a museum – with all of the bugs under glass. That was certainly not our experience!
The Expo was in a huge room at the El Tropicano Hotel downtown, and sponsored by the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). I’m not sure how many different stations there were – but after two hours we had not visited all of them! Each station was interactive, and more than a few of them had real, live bugs that you could touch – or eat.
Yes, there was a bug-eating station. I’m not sure what type of bugs they were, but they had been fried. A few of the kids dared to try them, and reported that they did, indeed, taste like french fries. Adventurous tasters also got to try different types of honey: raw, bee, and clover. There did not seem to be a consensus on which tasted best!
The Insect Petting Zoo was fascinating. We loved the huge green walking stick, whose body was shaped like a leaf. There were lots of cockroaches and beetles willing to be touched, too.
There were all kinds of art projects – such as making your own set of antennae and creating water bugs that you could test. If you weren’t feeling very creative, you could try “Maggot Art” by putting some drops of paint on a piece of paper and plopping some maggots in the paint. As they crawled around, they made their own insect masterpieces.
The cockroach races were very popular, and the beekeeper was apparently quite engaging (our group did not get a chance to see him). The students also got to make their own “bug suckers” for collecting bugs like real entomologists.
Many of the photographs below were taken by the students, themselves, at the Expo!