What has six legs and three body parts? If you guessed an insect, then you are correct! Close to 1,000 participants learned all about the wonderful world of insects and their relatives at the annual Kent House Bug Day in Alexandria, LA. Since its inception six years ago, the event has grown to include over 22 stations of hands-on learning, crafts, and activities. The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station enlists the help of 12 organizations to collaborate together and host this event the first Saturday of May.
This year, stag beetle jousting was one of the most popular activities with the younger crowd. Kids also had the chance to compete as insects in the Bug Olympics, hopping like a grasshopper or crawling like a caterpillar. Did you know scorpions naturally glow-in-the-dark under a blacklight? Night Insects provided the opportunity to learn about nocturnal arthropods and see the animals up close in a darkened room, complete with a glowing moon and star constellations.
From the very Big Bugs to the very Little Bugs, attendees viewed the diversity of the insect world. A station on Bad Bugs in the Woods highlighted many of our forest insect pests such as southern pine beetle, emerald ash borer, and red bay ambrosia beetle. Backyard Bugs demonstrated the variety of insects one can find right in your own backyard if you know where to look. Bug Homes helped show kids the many types of homes insects can build. The importance of our native bees, wasps, butterflies and moths was reinforced at the Pollinators station.
A live observation hive of honey bees was a real treat for participants to see busy bees; however, test-tasting different kinds of honey was the sweetest treat. Cheering your favorite exotic cockroach was another popular stop at the Roach Races. And if insects were not exactly your favorite creatures, Insectivores provided the chance to be up-close and personal with a variety of reptiles and amphibians, all of which eat insects.
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