Entomology department to showcase crawly critters

Insect Expo free for all, 10 a.m. Sunday at Ensminger Pavilion



Two giant prickly stick insects are held in the hands of Megan Asche, president of the Entomology Graduate Student Association, on Tuesday at the Food Science and Human Nutrition building.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese stick insects and giant prickly stick insects are among the bugs that Insect Expo attendees will have the chance to meet.

Community members can witness tarantulas and Madagascar hissing cockroaches at the WSU Entomology Insect Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ensminger Pavilion.

The event is free to all, and there are many activities available for people to participate in.

Megan Asche, doctoral student in WSU’s Department of Entomology, said the main goal of this event is to give children a positive look on bugs.

“It’s an outreach event geared toward young kids, usually like elementary school or middle school,” Asche said.

She said the expo includes a make-an-insect fossil activity, in which attendees use colored modeling clay to mold a fossil. Attendees can also take a mealworm home and watch it grow into a beetle.

Asche said there are face painting and coloring activities for younger children who may not be as comfortable with insects as others are.

“We bring out collection boxes so they can see a variety of different types of specimen,” Asche said.

Richard Zack, associate professor at the entomology department, said this expo has been going on for years, and graduate students want others to experience the insects.

“It’s just something our graduate students are very enthusiastic about,” Zack said. “They really enjoy their subject matter, and this gives them a chance to share that with individuals.”

Zack said he wants attendees to see that insects are part of our daily life and that they are valuable to nature. Especially for the children, he said, he wants to show them that insects can be cute and not all of them are harmful.

Asche said some of the bugs that will make an appearance are Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and the Vietnamese walking sticks. She said these live insects cannot fly, but the insects that do will be presented in a container, such as butterflies and bees.

“What we want people to get out of this is an appreciation of insects,” Zack said. “An appreciation for the diversity of insects from very small to very large and an appreciation for the value of insects.”