Annual Bugfest Features “Bad Bugs in the Forest”

University of Georgia Amanda Rose with the hemlock woolly adelgid exhibit at Bugfest. Photo by USDA Forest Service.

Where did more than 35,000 moms, dads, children, and their friends go for fun-filled, “buggy” entertainment, activities, and cuisine this year? They all showed up early and stayed late for the 16th annual Bugfest hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC. The Southern Research Station (SRS) was a co-sponsor of this years event, trapping lots of interest in the Stations Bad Bugs in the Forest exhibit. The exhibit’s mock FBI “wanted” posters encouraged participants to capture one of many thug bugs invading forests throughout the Southeast and beyond.

Festival-goers eagerly studied microscopic invasive pests, including the Asian-born hemlock woolly adelgid and its ruthless predator, hardly sympathetic for the tiny pest that threatens our treasured eastern and Carolina hemlocks. Station and partner researchers were on hand to discuss Forest Service efforts, address invasive pest concerns, and share additional insight to help stop the spread of common forest pests, including the sirex woodwasp, Asian long-horned beetle, emerald ash borer, and red imported fire ant. What a motley crew!

Bug “food” featured prominently at Bugfest. Here, mealy worms on celery sticks. Photo by USDA Forest Service.

Smokey Bear’s cameo appearance delighted the young and young-at-heart, sharing his timeless “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” stance. His message was reinforced through special reusable activity bags designed for school-aged students, including the Forest Service’s popular middle school science journal, the Natural Inquirer.

Bugfest is the nation’s largest family-friendly event that explores the world of insects and other arthropods.

Download activity sheets and view more photos from this year’s Bugfest.

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