Bug Fest 2014 features the beauty and artistry of insects

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Discover the beauty and artistry of insects—and have a taste while you’re at it—at Bug Fest at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10. The popular festival, now in its seventh year, features scores of live bugs, bug cooking demonstrations and tastings, and even bugs creating their own works of art. The event is free with regular museum admission.
This year’s theme, “Beauty and the Bug,” features a close look at how insects have inspired works of art and culture. Visitors will discover how insects themselves are works of art, with their intricate coloring and unique adaptations. Some 300 live insects representing 60 different species will be on display, plus a sampling of specimens from the Academy’s world-renowned Entomology Collection of some 4 million insects.
Paint-dipped roaches, maggots and wax worms will demonstrate their Picasso talents by wiggling and scurrying across paper to create unique watercolors. Chef Lucio Palazzo of Taqueria Feliz in Philadelphia and other chefs will demonstrate how to make tasty treats with bugs as ingredients, and visitors will be able to sample the ever popular chocolate chirp cookies with baked-in crickets. As they say, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Hundreds of live bugs, like this giant beetle, will be greeting visitors at Bug Fest, Aug. 9 and 10. Photo courtesy of Michael Long

Hundreds of live bugs, like this giant beetle, will be greeting visitors at Bug Fest, Aug. 9 and 10.
Photo courtesy of Michael Long

“We want people to know that insects are important to the environment, that they’re a key to understanding evolution because they are so diverse, and they live everywhere,” said festival organizer and Academy educator Karen Verderame. “Insects pollinate our food crops, control pests by eating other insects, are key indicators of environmental problems, and even help solve crimes.”
Of course, some insects also spread diseases such as West Nile Virus and some, like the emerald ash borer, damage plants. Entomologists from the Academy and the American Entomological Association will be on hand to answer questions about these topics and also to give walking tours outside the museum in search of bugs.
Bug Fest, sponsored by Western Pest Services, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here are some of the activities on both Saturday and Sunday. For more details, visit the Academy’s website at http://bit.ly/1gqe0YX.

10:15–11 a.m., 12:15–1 p.m., 2:30–3:15 p.m. Watch creepy crawlies scurry and crawl across paper to create a unique work of art through their distinctive movements.
11 a.m. In this unique live animal show, see the detailed beauty and intricate designs of insects through magnification.
· Every half hour, 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Roach Race 500 is bigger and better this year with two new tracks that make the races more challenging. Cheer your favorite roach as it tests its speed on different tracks and races over obstacles.

1 p.m. Watch as notable chefs prepare foods using nutritional insects such as crickets, wax worms and dragonflies. Then sample the cuisine. Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects as a part of your regular diet.
3 p.m. Entomologist and insect art collector Faith Kuehn will highlight some treasures in her unique collection of insect inspired art, jewelry and more.
All day. Academy artist Jason C. Poole will explain how to draw an insect from a model and from the real, living thing. Poole will produce large-scale drawings throughout the day and visitors young and old can practice too.
Don’t miss Pinned: Insect Art, Insect Science, newly opened in the Art of Science Gallery.

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