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Save the date: Hokie Bugfest 2016

Come to the sixth annual Hokie BugFest on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center’s Latham Ballroom. The Inn is on the edge of the Virginia Tech campus off Price’s Fork Road, close to the 460 Bypass and near downtown Blacksburg. Free parking is available.

Activities and exhibits include a live Bug Zoo, Roachzilla! (a collection of giant cockroaches from Radford University), ant colonies, iPad labs, and bug-themed crafts. Arthropod enthusiasts can admire giant “bird-eater” tarantulas, observe bright-blue death-feigning beetles, see a working beehive, and visit departmental research displays. The themes of science and discovery are interwoven into all activities.

This year the festival is pleased to welcome Tony Gustin, the “bug whisperer” from Wisconsin. Tony is a performing educator, outreach specialist, and award-winning film producer whose “Educational Super Show” has wowed children all over the U.S.

Also new this year are Brandon the Balloon Guy, who will create bug-shaped balloon sculptures; bug bingo; and a pre-event SAFE Hour at 9 a.m. where autistic visitors and their families are invited to experience the Hokie BugFest in a calmer environment.

Back again this year are a large apiculture (beekeeping) exhibit and an insect collection contest for individuals or groups. You will discover how honey bees and other important pollinators help make agriculture possible by pollinating crops. Other attractions include a pumpkin patch (with fresh pumpkins for sale), the Alberti Flea Circus, a spooky Spiders’ Lair, the HokieBird, and the well-known Bo-Ty Dawgs. Bo and Ty are springer spaniel service dogs known as the canine mascots of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Larry the Label will be on hand to explain why reading pesticide labels is so important.

Don’t miss the Bug Zoo – your chance to view fascinating arthropods from North America, South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. The zoo’s residents include a variety of tarantulas, beetles, scorpions, cockroaches, centipedes, vinegaroons (forest-dwelling whip scorpions that squirt vinegar from their tail), and many others!

Visit exhibits from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Schiele Museum, and the Science Museum of Western Virginia. See a cast aluminum fire ant nest and a giant robotic spider. Participate in a drawing class with Jane Blevins of College Art and learn to sketch bugs. Do the bee waggle dance onstage and win a prize.

Among the “bad guys” of the insect world (pests such as bed bugs, gypsy moths, stink bugs, and termites), mosquitoes have recently taken center stage. Learn more about these tiny but dangerous insects and how you can protect yourself against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Stop by the Bug Creations room, where kids can make all sorts of bug-inspired crafts. Children can also earn a junior entomologist certificate by visiting eight exhibits at the festival. Older kids will enjoy testing their wits at the Bug Jeopardy booth.

For more details and a schedule of events, go to http://www.hokiebugfest.org or check out the Facebook page.

The Hokie BugFest was inspired by William B. Alwood, Virginia’s first entomologist. Alwood, an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture, was one of Virginia Tech’s greatest scientists. The W.B. Alwood Entomological Society, a graduate student organization, helps host the Hokie BugFest as part of its outreach mission.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Dr. Mike Weaver at (540) 231-6543 or email mweaver@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.


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