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Published September 20, 2014

BugFest Creates Buzz In Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh was crawling with people on Saturday. BugFest, one of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s most popular events, draws around 35,000 visitors each year.

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Attending BugFest can be eye-opening.

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Like them or not, bugs play a big role in the ecosystem. Some can be damaging, like the Emerald Ash Borer, destroying ash trees from Minnesota to New Hampshire to North Carolina. Others, like ladybugs help prevent garden pests, and are welcomed additions to your neighborhood.

There were dozens of exhibits, both on the street and inside the museum. I got an up-close look at baby caterpillars and picked up some milkweed seeds to plant in my backyard, which lure the small creatures, along with their mature elders, moths and butterflies.

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BugFest also gave attendees an opportunity to talk with staff from NC State University and NC Agriculture & Consumer Services. Describe an insect (or show them the photo on your smartphone), and these experts quickly buzzed through their reference guides to identify it as friend or foe.

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The thing that amazed me most? More than the sheer number of insects on site, I was wowed by the remarkable design of each bug. Nature has a way of giving creatures just what they need to survive. Need to get away quickly? Use your long legs to spring out of danger. Find yourself in the mouth of a predator? Exude a toxic odor so he spits you out.

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I devoured the events of the day, but drew the line when it came to Café Insecta and their entomophagy–the practice of eating bugs!

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  • Michael Palko

    Michael

  • Instructional designer, Photographer-in-Residence at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, and social learning evangelist. Oh, digital storyteller, too. I take pictures. Lots of them. Find me on Instagram: mpalko. All my articles.

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