Young attendees of Cornell's Insectapalooza take in the critters on display.

Jason Ben Nathan/Sun File Photo

Young attendees of Cornell's Insectapalooza take in the critters on display.

October 17, 2019

16th Annual Insectapalooza Aims to Take ‘Creepy’ Out of ‘Creepy-Crawly’

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Cornell’s “Insectapalooza,” one of the largest events of its kind, will once again buzz and crawl with excitement this Saturday at 9 a.m.

The annual one-day event, hosted by Cornell’s Department of Entomology and run by student and faculty volunteers, will take over multiple floors of Stocking Hall to showcase a massive collection of live bugs, spiders and — in what organizer’s call the event’s biggest draw — a live butterfly room.

And, for the first time in its history, attendance to the entomological extravaganza will be free, down from $3 a person in previous years.

The aim of the event has always been to take the “creepy” out of “creepy-crawly.” By highlighting the critical role insects play in our ecosystem, the organizers hope to spur greater appreciation, among both children and adults alike, for the often spurned creatures.

“They provide critical ecosystem services such as pollination, predation of crop pests and nutrient cycling so plants can grow,” Prof. Scott McArt, entomology, said in a press release. “In other words, insects are an important part of everyone’s lives. And many of them are just spectacularly beautiful or do really interesting things.”

One of the exhibitions that hope to change attitudes about insects will display research from Corrie Moreau, the Martha N. & John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity, whose work focuses on the often forgotten, but important, role ants have in the environment.

“There are more ants [on the planet] than all the birds and mammals added together,” Moreau said in the press release. “We will feature some local favorites, including the Dracula ant, wood ants and carpenter ants.”

Other attractions will include insect face-painting, live maggots, cockroach races, honey-tasting and edible insects.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Stocking Hall and will continue till 3 p.m.