Friday, August 29, 2014

Cool opportunity for bug lovers!

Hokie BugFest
Take a peek into the fascinating world of entomology at the fourth annual Hokie BugFest! This unique festival will take place on Saturday, October 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 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. Plenty of parking will be available.

Activities and exhibits include a live Bug Zoo, a haunted Bug House, luminescent and cave-dwelling bugs, an ant farm, silkworm cocoons, games, and crafts. Bug enthusiasts can admire a giant bird-eating tarantula and a Formosan forest scorpion, watch cockroach races, see a working beehive, and meet the HokieBird. The themes of science and discovery are interwoven into all activities. 

New this year is a bee-waggle dancing contest. We will also feature an insect collection contest for individuals or groups. Other new attractions include a pumpkin patch (with pumpkins for sale) and the well-known Bo-Ty Dawgs. 

Don’t miss the Bug Zoo – your chance to view exotic arthropods from North America, South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. The zoo’s residents include a black widow spider, hundreds of tarantulas, death-feigning beetles, scorpions, hissing cockroaches, several species of millipedes, and vinegaroons (cave-dwelling whip scorpions that squirt vinegar from their tail).

Enter the Luminous Cave and see glow-in-the-dark millipedes and other arthropods. Want more spooky fun? Try the haunted Bug House – a fun house with an insect theme. 

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 “buggy” crafts, get their faces and fingernails painted, and design a t-shirt. 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.

Another featured attraction of the Hokie BugFest is the Alberti Flea Circus. Jim Alberti’s troupe of performing fleas has charmed audiences from coast to coast. The flea circus will appear several times during the day.

For more details and a schedule of events, go to

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 Hokie BugFest as part of its outreach mission.